This act was another bill of firsts — it was the first to protect marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, seals, walruses, manatees, sea otters and polar bears. In addition:
• It granted governmental authority to reduce marine mammal casualties.
• It created guidelines for the public display of captured marine mammals, specifically protecting dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean from injury and death from fisherman.
• It regulated the import and export of marine mammals.
• It established a system to allow native subsistence Alaskan hunters to kill whales and other marine mammals.
President Nixon signed the Marine Mammal Protection Act on Oct. 21, 1972. A few days later, Nixon adding his signature to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. The act, also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, regulates the dumping of anything into the ocean that would harm human health or the marine environment.