May 5, 1999 -- Man Charged with Violation of Marine Mammal Protection Act

NMFS Northeast Region


Massachusetts Man Charged with Possession of Whale Skin

Gloucester, Mass. -- NOAA Fisheries has charged a Massachusetts man with taking skin from the carcass of a highly endangered whale on April 21 on a beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Peter L. Hubbell, 87 Franklin Street, Marshfield, is charged with taking marine mammal parts in violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. The incident occurred while officials were on site investigating the death of the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

The MMPA and the Endangered Species Act prohibit the taking of any marine mammal parts without prior authorization by NOAA Fisheries. Authorization can be granted only for research or educational purposes.

NOAA Fisheries alleges that Hubbell took a 6 inch square piece of whale skin while scientists were conducting a necropsy of a right whale on a Wellfleet beach. A scientist working on the right whale necropsy alleges that he warned Hubbell three times that it is illegal to take marine mammal parts. The scientist alleges he subsequently saw Hubbell pocket a piece of whale skin. Officials with the Massachusetts Environmental Police found the whale skin inside Hubbell's jacket pocket.

Hubbell was charged with a civil violation on April 30. Special agents from the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement are continuing to investigate the incident.

Violators of the Marine Mammal Protection Act can be charged with civil violations punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or criminal violations punishable by a fine of up to $20,000 and as much as one year in jail.

For Immediate


May 5, 1999


George Liles

PH: (508) 495-2378

FAX: 508 495-2258


NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service * One Blackburn Drive * Gloucester, MA * 01930


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