New Zealand Publishes Satisfactory Marine Mammal Impact Assessments

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation has published “Marine Mammal Impact Assessments which have been assessed as meeting the standards described in the Seismic Code of Conduct to the satisfaction of the Director-General of the Department of Conservation.”  Click here for links to these Impact Assessments.





IAGC Director Defends Seismic

Chip Gill, President of the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, recently submitted a letter to the editor of the St. Augustine Record.  Mr. Gill’s letter is reprinted below:

Editor: In response to the May editorial, ‘Seismic testing: Lots of pain, little gain,’ claims that seismic surveys cause serious harm to marine life are erroneous. The federal government acknowledges seismic surveys pose minimal risks of danger, stating ‘To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to air gun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays (NOAA -NMFS, Federal Register Notice March 4, 2014-Vol. 79, No. 42 Page 12166, Comment No. 6). For 40 years, the industry has consistently demonstrated its ability to conduct seismic exploration in an environmentally responsible manner. There’s no scientific evidence demonstrating biologically significant negative impacts on marine mammal populations.

NMFS Issues IHA for Nantucket Sound Seismic Survey

The United States National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Cape Wind Associates (CWA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to pre-construction high resolution survey activities in Nantucket Sound.  This IHA is issued under the U.S. Mammal Protection Act . It is effective April 25, 2014, through April 24, 2015.  CWA will conduct a high resolution geophysical survey in order to acquire remote-sensing data around Horseshoe Shoal which will be used to characterize resources at or below the seafloor. The purpose of the survey is to identify any submerged cultural resources that may be present and to generate additional data describing the geological environment within the survey area.

NAAMCO Scientific Publications Available Online

The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission – NAMMCO – has made all previous volumes in the NAMMCO Scientific Publications series available online as open-access (i.e., free).  Visit the journal website is at to find complete editions of Volumes 1-8, and the online early versions of completed papers in Volumes 9 and 10.

The purpose of the NAMMCO Scientific Publications series is to make available, in published, peer-reviewed form, scientific papers which have contributed to the work carried out by the NAMMCO Scientific Committee.

For more information about the series, contact Jill Prewitt at<>   To order hard copies of Volumes 1-8, email the NAMMCO Secretariat at<> .

Mares Conference on Marine Ecosystems Health and Conservation

June 1 is the deadline for submitting abstracts to the Mares Conference, Marine Ecosystems Health and Conservation, 17-21 November 2014, Olhao, Portugal. This international and open conference will bring together scientists from different levels and disciplines to discuss and address main issues about marine ecosystems health and conservation. Six themes will be developed through the conference, and for each one a keynote speaker has been invited:

1.  Future Oceans : temperature changes – hypoxia – acidification
2.   Understanding biodiversity effects on the functioning of marine ecosystems : Lisa Levin<>
3.   Biological invasions: Gregory M. Ruiz<>
4.   Natural Resources : overexploitation, fisheries and aquaculture: Rainer Froese <>
5.   Ocean noise pollution: Peter L. Tyack<>
6.   Habitat loss, urban development, coastal infrastructures and Marine Spatial Planning: Michael W. Beck<>

Dr. Richard W. Spinrad named NOAA’s chief scientist

The Obama Administration has named Dr. Richard W. Spinrad as NOAA’s Chief Scientist.  An internationally recognized scientist and executive with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Spinrad will be the senior scientist for the agency, driving policy and program direction for science and technology priorities. Until this appointment, Dr. Spinrad served as vice president for research at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, Oregon, and from 2005 until 2010, was the head of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the head of the National Ocean Service.

NOAA/NMFS Seek Nominations for U.S. Delegation to IWC Meeting

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service , of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has issued a call for nominees for the U.S. Delegation to the September 2014 International Whaling Commission  meeting.

The non-federal representative(s) selected as a result of this nomination process is(are) responsible for providing input and recommendations to the U.S. IWC Commissioner representing the positions of non-governmental organizations. The IWC is holding its 65th meeting from September 15–18, 2014, at the Convention Center of the Grand the Convention Center of the Grand Hotel Bernardin in Portorozˇ, Slovenia.


The Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Lab at the University of Queensland is seeking expressions of interest from volunteers for a five-and-a-half week behavioural response study  on humpback whales from September 19 to October 26 this year. The study will examine how humpback whale behaviour is affected by noise from seismic air guns. It is the fourth and last in a series of experiments, known as the Behavioural Responses of Australian Humpback whales to Seismic Surveys (BRAHSS) project, that has been examining this issue since 2010 in collaboration with the University of Sydney, Curtin University, the Australian Marine Mammal Centre, the University of Newcastle and Blue Planet Marine.

BOEM Accepting Nominations for Offshore Scientific Committee

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management  seeks qualified individuals to serve on the Outer Continental Shelf (Scientific Committee beginning October 15, 2014, for a three-year period. The Committee is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to advise the Secretary of the Interior, through the BOEM Director, on the scientific quality and value of BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program (for the purpose of informing decisions on managing offshore resources. Interested individuals should send a letter of interest and resume to BOEM by May 23, 2014.

Hydenlyne Seeks Canadian MMOs

Hydenlyne is an E&P Consultancy that specializes in environmental consultants; including MMO, PAM, Fisheries Liaison Officers, EIA consultants and more. Hydenline conducts worldwide projects and welcome enquires to join its database at any time. Hydenline is currently looking to increase its database of Canadian Marine Mammal Observers, particularly those from Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador. The ideal candidate will have offshore seismic experience and valid certification for offshore work. If you are interested, please send your CV to<> ,with the subject heading “Canadian MMO”.