The goal of marine mammal management is to prevent extinction and maintain large population sizes rather than to maximize production. For this reason, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, enacted by the United States in 1972, has as its goal an optimum sustainable population OSP rather than a maximum or an optimum sustainable yield.


An OSP is the largest population that can be sustained indefinitely without deleterious effects on the ability of the population or its ecosystem to continue to support that same level. In the past, each marine mammal population was treated as if it were isolated, had a constant supply of food, and was subject only to the effects of human harvesting.


That is, its growth was assumed to follow the logistic curve. We now realize that management policies for marine mammals must be expanded to include ecosystem concepts and the understanding that populations interact in complex ways. Almost every park is a biological island for some species. For example, the Masai Mara Game Reserve in the Serengeti Plain, which stretches from Tanzania to Kenya in East Africa, and other great wildlife parks of eastern and southern Africa are be- coming islands of natural landscape surrounded by human settlements.