Handbook for Native Alaskan Marine Mammal Consultation Procedures

The Marine Mammal Commission and the Environmental Law Institute have collaborated with the Indigenous Peoples Council for Marine Mammals, Alaska marine mammal co-management organizations, the Alaska Federation of Natives, and Alaskan native tribal councils to develop model consultation procedures.  These consultation procedures are designed to assist Alaskan Native communities in their developing their own policies and procedures to ensure meaningful and timely consultation with federal agencies on actions that may affect marine mammals or their availability for subsistence and cultural purposes.

Click here for the final HANDBOOK: Model Alaska Native Consultation Procedures.

NMFS initiates 5-Year Review of Southern Resident Killer Whales

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published notice that NMFS has initiated 5-year review of Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The purpose of these reviews is to ensure that the current ESA listing classification of a species is accurate.

The 5-year review will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, NMFS requests submission of any such information on Southern Resident killer whales that has become available since their original listing as endangered in November 2005 or since the previous 5-year review completed in 2011.

NMFS Issues L-DEO IHA for Seismic in the South Atlantic

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a component of Columbia University, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, to take marine mammals, by harassment, in the South Atlantic Ocean, January through March 2016. This IHA was issued under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. The U.S. Marine Mammal commission commented on the proposed IHA.  NMFS’ response to comments and details about the IHA are available here.

Whales ‘Safe from Seismic Testing’

In 40 years there had been no recorded environmental harm from oil and gas seismic testing, Octanex director and lawyer James Willis told the New Zealand Petroleum Summit in Auckland.

“Given that all is involved is a ship with an airgun sailing up and down a predetermined route at slow speeds, that’s hardly surprising,” he said.

Now an operator must adhere to costly requirements including lodging a marine mammal impact assessment, have onboard a marine mammal observer and carry acoustic monitoring equipment.

He said a standard marine mammal impact assessment template for Taranaki waters should be available to operators rather than having to do an individual one each time.

JIP Publishes First Newsletter

The International Oil and Gas Producers E & P Sound & Marine Life Joint Industry Programme has published its first Newsletter.  Click here for the Newsletter.

Should Seismic Occur Off the Coast of North Carolina ?

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has published two responses to whether seismic surveys should be conducted off the coast of North Carolina.  One response says yes.  The other says no.  Both provide detailed discussions of the issue.  Click here to read these responses. 

IAGC Conference

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors is conducting its Annual Conference: 45 Years of Charting the Course for Oil & Gas Exploration, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM, at the Norris Conference Center, 816 Town & Country Blvd., Houston, TX 77024.  Click here for registration and other information about this IAGC conference.

NOIA Rebuts “Red Herring” Study on Atlantic Development

 The International Association of Geophysical Contractors has published the following article:

“NOIA President Randall Luthi issued the following statement regarding a report released today by SELC which attempts to discredit an earlier study by Quest Offshore:

“The Quest Study estimates the potential for jobs, economic activity and government revenue that could be generated from Atlantic development, assuming reasonable government policies supporting energy development are in place.  Completed in 2013, the Quest report was never intended, nor could it have been expected, to predict federal policy in 2015.  Thus, the SELC report misses the forest for the trees; the fact remains that Atlantic oil and gas activity holds the potential to add tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue and investment to Atlantic states.