The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Northwest Training and Testing Study Area from November 2015 through November 2020.
These regulations allow NMFS to issue Letters of Authorization for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take.
These regulations also allow NMFS to authorize modifications to watchstander requirements for observed behavior of marine mammals during Major Training Events in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and 2 Testing Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing, Mariana Islands Training and Testing, and Gulf of Alaska Training study areas.
Modifications to the Navy watchstander requirements include a revision to regulatory text in current regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals during training and/or testing activities in these study areas. There are no MTEs associated with Navy training and testing activities in the NWTT Study Area.