[MARMAM] Comments requested: Proposal to issue seven-year regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the incidental take of marine mammals by the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area.

Kate Goggin - NOAA Federal kate.goggin at noaa.gov
Fri May 10 08:02:10 PDT 2019


NOAA Fisheries is proposing to issue seven-year regulations under the
Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to govern the incidental take of marine
mammals by the U.S. Navy’s in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing
(AFTT) Study Area. The regulations would be valid from the publication date
of the final rule (if issued) through November 13, 2025.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was recently amended to allow
for seven-year authorizations under the MMPA for military readiness
activities. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities
pursuant to the MMPA. This seven-year rule and subsequent Letters of
Authorization would replace the existing five-year rule published on
November 14, 2018 (83 FR 57076) and Letters of Authorization. NOAA
Fisheries’ proposed regulations and the subsequent Letters of Authorization
include identical required mitigation and monitoring measures that are
expected to reduce adverse impacts to marine mammals as those required
under the existing five-year final rule and Letters of Authorization.

The Navy’s activities are likely to result in the incidental take of marine
mammals by exposing them to sonar, in-water detonations, airguns, and pile
driving/removal activities. The proposed takes authorized by this action
are Level B behavioral disturbance and Temporary Threshold Shift takes and
Level A Permanent Threshold Shift and Injury. A small number of serious
injury or mortality takes are also proposed for this action from ship shock
trials (explosives) and vessel strikes.

The AFTT Study Area includes existing range complexes and additional areas
located in the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern coast of North America, in
portions of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, at Navy pier-side
locations and port transit channels, near civilian ports, and in bays,
harbors, and inland waterways. The Study Area covers approximately 2.6
million square nautical miles of ocean area and includes designated Navy
operating areas and special use airspace.

*The comments due date is 06-12-2019. *


Please visit our AFTT webpage for more information
<https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/incidental-take-authorization-us-navy-atlantic-fleet-training-and-testing-aftt-along>
about this action or https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/node/23111 for more
information on NOAA’s incidental take program under the MMPA.

Best Regards,

Kate Goggin
HQ Office of Protected Resources
Communications Specialist
(301) 427-8400 Main
(301) 427-8411 Direct
Kate.Goggin at noaa.gov
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