Protected Resources

Part of the Council's responsibility is to ensure that fishery management measures will not have adverse impacts on protected marine resources such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and endangered species. 

During the development of fishery management plans and amendments, the Council is required to evaluate potential interactions of the managed species with non-target species, endangered species, and marine mammals.  The Council coordinates its management plans with the NMFS Northeast Regional Office to address and mitigate any potential interactions. 

ContactRich Seagraves - (302) 526-5259


The two protected resource laws that the Council most frequently considers in its decision-making are the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).  



  • North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), Endangered
  • Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), Endangered
  • Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), Endangered
  • Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), Endangered
  • Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis), Endangered
  • Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), Endangered
  • Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), Protected
  • Pilot whale (Globicephala spp.), Protected
  • Spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis), Protected
  • Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), Protected
  • White-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus), Protected
  • Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Protected
  • Bottlenose dolphin: coastal stocks (Tursiops truncatus), Protected
  • Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Protected


  • Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)
  • Gray seal (Halichoerus grypus)
  • Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica), Protected
  • Hooded seal (Crystophora cristata)

Sea Turtles

  • Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Endangered
  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Endangered
  • Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Endangered*
  • Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), Threatened


  • Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum), Endangered
  • Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) Endangered
  • Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), Endangered