NMFS Still Using Acoustic Guidance

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment on the Issuance of Incidental Take Authorizations in Cook Inlet, Alaska AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY:

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Assessment to analyze the environmental impacts of issuing annual incidental harassment authorizations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (for the taking of marine mammals incidental to anthropogenic activities in the waters of Cook Inlet, Alaska, for the 2018 season; and its intent to continue an annual cycle for issuing MMPA IHAs in Cook Inlet such that companies planning to submit IHA applications for work to be conducted in Cook Inlet in 2018 do so by no later than October 1, 2017.

In its Federal Register notice of its EA intent, NMFS “refer[s] prospective applicants to [NMFS’] 2016 Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/ guidelines.htm ). “ NMFS’ notice ignores the fact that the Department of Commerce/NOAA are reviewing this Acoustic Guidance to determine whether it should be revised or rescinded.

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