16 U.S. Code § 1421c - Unusual mortality event response
Unusual mortality event response
(1) Working group
(A) The Secretary, acting through the Office, shall establish, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, a marine mammalunusual mortality event working group, consisting of individuals with knowledge and experience in marine science, marine mammal science, marine mammal veterinary and husbandry practices, marine conservation, and medical science, to provide guidance to the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior for—
determining whether an unusual mortality event is occurring;
determining, after an unusual mortality event has begun, if response actions with respect to that event are no longer necessary; and
(2) Response timingThe Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, shall to the extent necessary and practicable—
within 24 hours after receiving notification from a stranding network participant that an unusual mortality event might be occurring, contact as many members as is possible of the unusual mortality event working group for guidance; and
(B) within 48 hours after receiving such notification—
make a determination as to whether an unusual mortality event is occurring;
inform the stranding network participant of that determination; and
(b) Contingency plan
(1) In general
(2) ContentsThe contingency plan required under this subsection shall include—
training, mobilization, and utilization procedures for available personnel, facilities, and other resources necessary to conduct a rapid and effective response to unusual mortality events; and
(D) such requirements as are necessary to—
assist in identifying the cause or causes of an unusual mortality event;
determine the effects of an unusual mortality event on the size estimates of the affected populations of marine mammals; and
identify any roles played in an unusual mortality event by physical, chemical, and biological factors, including contaminants.
(c) Onsite coordinators
An Onsite Coordinator so designated shall be one or more appropriate Regional Directors of the National Marine Fisheries Service or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or their designees.
If, because of the wide geographic distribution, multiple species of marine mammals involved, or magnitude of an unusual mortality event, more than one Onsite Coordinator is designated, the Secretary shall, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, designate which of the Onsite Coordinators shall have primary responsibility with respect to the event.
(A) An Onsite Coordinator designated under this subsection shall coordinate and direct the activities of all persons responding to an unusual mortality event in accordance with the contingency plan issued under subsection (b), except that—
with respect to any matter that is not covered by the contingency plan, an Onsite Coordinator shall use his or her best professional judgment; and
An Onsite Coordinator may delegate to any qualified person authority to act as an Onsite Coordinator under this subchapter.
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