[MARMAM] New NOAA Fisheries Tech Memo on recommended Protected Species Observers standards

Jonathan Shannon - NOAA Federal jonathan.shannon at noaa.gov
Tue Nov 5 10:17:48 PST 2013


The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Office of Protected
Resources, is pleased to announce the availability of the technical
memorandum (tech memo) titled "National Standards for a Protected Species
Observer and Data Management Program:  A Model Using Geological and
Geophysical Surveys."  The tech memo is now available online at:

The tech memo recommends the establishment of national standards for data
collection and Protected Species Observer (PSO) qualifications for
geological and geophysical (i.e., seismic) surveys.  Solutions to existing
issues in PSO programs are recommended, when possible. Actions requiring
further consideration are noted in the last section of the tech memo. The
PSO standards and recommendations were developed by a working group of
federal partners including NMFS, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
(BOEM), and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

PSOs are required for energy-related activities on the Outer Continental
Shelf during seismic surveys and other specified activities that may
adversely affect, or “take”, species listed under the Endangered Species
Act or marine mammals protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The core standards outlined in the tech memo are critical for the
development of national standards and establish the foundation necessary
for the successful management of a PSO monitoring and data collection
program. National standards will provide consistency in the training,
performance, and qualifications of PSOs required for seismic surveys
operating in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and
international waters. A standardized approach will also yield more useful
data to better inform decision makers on the effectiveness of monitoring
and mitigation measures for protected species.

Improvements to PSO programs for seismic surveys would also benefit
stakeholders (NMFS, BOEM, BSEE, Industry, and PSOs). The tech memo outlines
distinct responsibilities of NMFS, BOEM, and BSEE, and non-Federal
stakeholders in implementing PSO requirements. It provides a framework for
developing a program that can function in an effective way to meet the
needs of all affected stakeholders.

The contents of the tech memo are recommendations and are subject to the
future decisions, implementation, and policies of NMFS.

Thank you for your interest in the tech memo.

Best regards,

Jonathan Shannon
*Outreach Specialist*
NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources
U.S. Department of Commerce
Office: 301-427-8431
jonathan.shannon at noaa.gov

<http://www.youtube.com/usnoaafisheriesgov> *
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