[MARMAM] Closing Date February 19 - Seeking Marine Scientists for Sign On Letter

Huelsenbeck, Matthew mhuelsenbeck at oceana.org
Tue Feb 18 08:18:34 PST 2014

Circling back around about this. Thanks to those of you who have signed on already. Please let me know by Wednesday, February 19th COB if you can sign on to this important letter. Thanks again.

Hello all,

If you are willing to sign on to the letter below please email me (mhuelsenbeck at oceana.org<mailto:mhuelsenbeck at oceana.org>) with your name, degree, title and organization. We are seeking marine scientists and conservation biologists, particularly experts in underwater acoustics and/or marine mammals, to sign this letter. The purpose and wording of the letter is simple; require the use of NMFS' new Marine Mammal Acoustic Guidelines before finalizing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for proposed seismic survey activity in the mid- and south Atlantic. Thanks!

For more information, here is a link to NMFS' Marine Mammal Acoustic Guidelines; http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/guidelines.htm
And a link to BOEM's page about proposed geological and geophysical activities in the mid- and south Atlantic, referenced in the letter as the PEIS: http://www.boem.gov/oil-and-gas-energy-program/GOMR/GandG.aspx

"Dear (President Obama, Secretary of DOI, Deputy Director of BOEM)

On behalf of the following marine scientists and conservation biologists we urge you to use the best available science before permitting seismic surveys for offshore oil and gas in the mid- and south Atlantic. We recommend that you do not finalize the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) regarding seismic surveys in the mid- and south Atlantic until the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has completed new Marine Mammal Acoustic Guidelines. It is essential to incorporate these guidelines into this PEIS in order to accurately estimate auditory injuries and disturbances to marine mammals from proposed seismic surveys, so that this important information can guide the most appropriate mitigation measures.

NMFS released the first phase of the acoustic guidelines on December 27th 2013 for public comment, and the agency will be releasing the second phase regarding behavioral disturbances to marine mammals soon. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has classified the first phase of these guidelines as a "Highly Influential Scientific Assessment"- the most stringent possible ranking under OMB's peer-review protocol. More than 15 years have passed since NMFS first began developing these criteria for auditory impacts, as well as criteria for acoustic disturbances. The newly published draft guidelines synthesize years of scientific research regarding the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals. During the development of the guidelines NMFS has undergone a rigorous internal and external peer review process including consultation with issue experts, and the first phase is now undergoing public comment.

If the PEIS moves forward without the newly established acoustic guidelines it will be scientifically deficient and quickly outdated. It will fail to accurately assess the true scope of marine mammal impacts from proposed seismic surveys, which is a primary purpose of the PEIS. The mid- and south Atlantic is home to a diversity and abundance of marine mammals, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale which could be impacted by proposed seismic survey activity. We implore you to take this opportunity to integrate NMFS' new Marine Mammal Acoustic Guidelines into the PEIS for proposed seismic survey activity in the mid- and south Atlantic."


Name, Degree

Name, Degree

Name, Degree

Matthew Huelsenbeck | Marine Scientist
OCEANA | Protecting the World's Oceans
1350 Connecticut Ave. NW, 5th Floor | Washington, DC 20036 USA
C +1.202.725.9560 | D +1.202.467.1924 | O +1.202.833.2070
E mhuelsenbeck at oceana.org<mailto:mhuelsenbeck at oceana.org> | W www.oceana.org<http://www.oceana.org/>

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