Marine mammals and commercial fishermen come into direct conflict when marine mammals become entangled in commercial fishing nets. Since marine mammals must come up to the water surface in order to breathe, they will die if they cannot break free of an underwater net. This conflict is exemplified by the plight of the harbor porpoise in the Gulf of Maine. The federal regulatory framework that attempts to balance the competing interests of commercial fishermen and marine mammals is currently in flux, and its final form may determine the fate of species like the harbor porpoise. This Comment will examine the conflict between marine mammals and commercial fishermen and the regulatory attempts to balance these competing interests.

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