[MARMAM] Guidance for cetacean research and response in the Gulf of Mexico

Amy Hapeman Amy.Hapeman at noaa.gov
Mon Jul 26 13:21:21 PDT 2010

Dear MARMAM subscribers:

The following serves as guidance on Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) 
and Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements and coordination of marine 
mammal research, response, and salvage efforts related to the Deepwater 
Horizon BP oil spill.  Please note the following information only 
applies to marine mammal species under the jurisdiction of NMFS.  
Research and response activities for manatees are regulated by the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (www.fws.gov <http://www.fws.gov>).

Marine Mammal Research_

The NMFS Office of Protected Resources is working with the NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office and permitted researchers to coordinate marine 
mammal studies in the Gulf of Mexico.  Research coordination is 
especially important in the face of the ongoing oil spill from BP's 
Deepwater Horizon well.  We are also pursuing coordination of research 
activities with NOAA's Natural Resources Damage Assessment process.  
This will ensure that information provided to NOAA for use in damage 
assessment meets legal requirements.

Permitted marine mammal researchers, including Letter of Confirmation 
(LOC) Holders, working in the Gulf of Mexico, including all coastal 
waters, bays, sounds, and estuaries thereof, during the Deepwater 
Horizon oil spill and beyond must notify Laura.Engleby at noaa.gov 
<mailto:Laura.Engleby at noaa.gov> (phone: 727-551-5791) with the NMFS 
Southeast Regional Office of field plans at least two weeks prior to 
initiating research activities.  Compliance with this permit or LOC 
requirement allows for coordination of activities to minimize impacts to 
animals, avoid interference among projects, and optimize opportunities 
for data collection and sharing.  

For questions about permits or requesting changes to your permit or LOC, 
please contact Amy.Hapeman at noaa.gov <mailto:Amy.Hapeman at noaa.gov> or 
Kristy.Beard at noaa.gov <mailto:Kristy.Beard at noaa.gov> (phone: 301-713-2289). 

Marine Mammal Stranding Response and Salvage  _

To conduct marine mammal rescue and response activities, such as 
rehabilitation or translocation, salvaging and sampling dead animals, or 
otherwise taking a marine mammal for its protection or welfare (e.g., 
hazing, disentanglement, monitoring to determine if response is 
necessary) in the Gulf of Mexico you must be authorized as either:

    * A stranding network responder working under the authority of a
      Stranding Response Agreement issued by the NMFS Southeast Regional
      Office (pursuant to section 112c of the MMPA), or
    * A Federal, State, or local government employee who may take a
      marine mammal in the normal course of his/her official duties
      pursuant to section 109h of the MMPA. 

Please contact Erin.Fougeres at noaa.gov <mailto:Erin.Fougeres at noaa.gov> 
(phone: 727-824-5323) for more information to ensure that established 
protocols and procedures for treating marine wildlife impacted by oil 
are followed and to allow for appropriate response coordination.  Please 
note that additional ESA authorization may be required for endangered 
sperm whales.

__Please DO NOT touch or try to approach oiled animals.  The chemicals 
in oil are toxic and only trained personnel with appropriate protective 
gear and equipment should handle and treat oiled animals.  *If you see 
an oiled, injured or dead marine mammal, sea turtle, or bird, 
immediately contact the Wildlife Hotline at:  866-557-1401.*



Amy Hapeman
Fishery Biologist

National Marine Fisheries Service
Office of Protected Resources
Permits, Conservation and Education Division
1315 East-West Highway, Room 13702,
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Tel: 301-713-2289 ext. 163
Fax: 301-713-0376

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