498 words • 2~4 min read

How to protect yourself from Zombie Dolphins without violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act

They rise from the deep with gnashing teeth and hissing blowholes. They stagger through the shallows, hunting for human flesh, piercing the air with their high pitched moan. They are dead but not dead. They are Zombie Dolphins.

And you can’t fight them, because they are protected.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act is an impressive piece of legislation that protect whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sea otters, walruses, manatees, and polar bears within the United States. It expressly forbids theĀ harassment, hunting, capturing, killing or collecting, or attemptedĀ harassment, hunting, capturing, killing or collecting. Violating the act will get you tagged with huge fines and may even get you jail time. What many people don’t realize is that the MMPA not only protects living marine mammals, but also dead ones; which raises the important question: How can we protect ourselves from Zombie Dolphins without violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act?

You can’t. The MMPA forbids the “taking” of marine mammals. You cannot approach a zombie dolphin, nor can you obstruct its path. You cannot strike a zombie dolphin or do anything that may interfere with its behavior. You cannot remove the flippers or flukes of a zombie dolphin. You cannot chase a zombie dolphin. You cannot even scream in terror as one approaches, as that may cause the decaying cetacean undue stress.

You could hide on land, but there’s no way of knowing whether a desperate zombie dolphin will attempt to claw its way across the sand, and then where would you be? Perhaps you will risk the wrath of the National Marine Fisheries Service and violate the MMPA, but there’s no guarantee that zombie dolphins won’t creep into your prison cell. And the Act exists for a reason, to protect these gentle creatures who just happen to be infected with a horrible, zombifying virus.

No, there’s only one way to protect yourself and your loved ones. You’ll have to apply for a Level A Harassment permit. And to do that, you need to familiarize yourself with the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Don’t wait until it’s too late and the hordes of Tursiops desiccatus are knocking at your door.

Don’t wait for the zombie uprising. If you interact with marine mammals in either a commercial or recreational capacity, you need to know what the MMPA allows.


Deep-sea biologist, population/conservation geneticist, backyard farm advocate. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.


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