[MARMAM] Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Atlantic Ocean; Request for Comments; Extension of Public Comment Period

Benjamin Laws - NOAA Federal benjamin.laws at noaa.gov
Sun Jul 2 14:53:38 PDT 2017


*Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Atlantic
Ocean; Request for Comments; Extension of Public Comment Period*

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NOAA Fisheries is charged
with the conservation and protection of marine mammals, including the
appropriate authorization of otherwise prohibited incidental take.

On June 6, 2017, NOAA Fisheries published notice in the Federal Register
beginning a 30-day public review of five separate requests for authorization
<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/oilgas.htm#atlgeo2017> for
take of marine mammals incidental to geophysical surveys in support of
hydrocarbon exploration in the Atlantic Ocean (82 FR 26244). The applicants
propose to conduct 2-D seismic surveys within the Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management’s Mid- and South Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Planning Areas.

After receiving multiple requests to extend the comment period, NOAA
Fisheries has determined it appropriate to extend the review by 15 calendar
days. The comment period was previously set to close on July 6, 2017. We
are now accepting public comment on the proposed authorizations until July
21, 2017. Official notice of this extension will file with the Federal
Register on July 3 and will publish on July 5.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has responsibility for permitting
these surveys and is the agency charged with making decisions about energy
development in waters of the outer continental shelf.

NOAA Fisheries proposes to issue authorizations for take of marine mammals
incidental to these surveys, with appropriate mitigation and monitoring
measures to reduce impacts to marine mammals. We based our preliminary
decision on extensive reviews of scientific literature on the effects of
noise on marine mammals and their habitat as well as public comment
received on the applications.
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