The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Endangered Species Act Section 7 Biological Opinion to accompany NMFS’ issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA . This IHA authorized specified marine mammal takes for Marine 2D Seismic Activities in the Federal and International Waters in the Chukchi Sea, during the 2013 Open Water Season.
In its accompanying biological opinion, NMFS determined that the instances of exposure of endangered and threatened marine mammals to low-frequency seismic surveys associated with the proposed action are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of bowhead whales, fin whales, humpback whales, ringed seals, or bearded seals, and are not likely to adversely affect right whales or Steller sea lions in the action area. Further, NMFS determined that the proposed action is not likely to result in destruction or adverse modification of critical habitats for the Steller sea lion or the North Pacific right whale.
NMFS’ IHA and biological opinion continue to use a 180/190 dB level to regulate physical effects from offshore seismic.
Click here to read NMFS’ biological opinion.