Comment on NMFS’ Proposed GOM Take Rules

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has seeks public comment on NMFS’ proposed rules for Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys Related to Oil and Gas Activities in the Gulf of Mexico.  Comments on these proposed rules are due to NMFS by August 21, 2018. Click here for more details and relevant links.



EAGE Workshop on Seismic Survey Marine Effects

On June 15, 2018, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers held a workshop in Copenhagen on the effect of Seismic Surveys on the Marine Environment.  The workshop description stated:

“Marine seismic operations are critical for offshore exploration but are facing increasingly stricter environmental legislation. While some mitigation measures are being implemented to protect marine mammals, this topic still receives considerable attention from the seismic industry, regulators and environmental stakeholders. This workshop aims to stimulate discussion with invited experts on the effect of anthropogenic sound on marine life, environmental legislation, industry best practices, underwater sound propagation, latest technological developments and on-going research programmes.

NMFS Issues IHA to Scripps for Northwest Atlantic

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to take marine mammals incidental to a low-energy marine geophysical survey in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. NMFS has issued this IHA under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. This IHA is valid forone year from the date of issuance.

Click here for more detail and relevant links.





MNFS’ Draft Proposed GOM Take Rules

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published a discussion of its draft proposed rules for “Taking marine Mammal incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico.”  This NMFS discussion includes a draft

–“Statement of Need”

–“Summary of the Legal Basis”


–“Anticipated Costs and Benefits” and


This discussion has probably been changed since it was published in late 2017. Since then, the draft proposed rules have been reviewed by OMB/OIRA. As of June 20, 2018, NMFS has not yet published any proposed GOM Take Rules for comment.

Click here to read this discussion.

“Why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?”

The Washington Examiner recently published the following article:

“A thousand days later, why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?

by Nikki Martin and Randall Luthi

It has been more than a thousand days since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries accepted as “final and complete” the Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, applications needed to take seismic surveys off the Atlantic Coast.

Considering that the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, requires agencies to issue decisions within 120 days after deeming IHA applications complete, this delay is a shocking policy failure.

NMFS Uses Acoustic Guidance to Issue Take Authorization to Chevron

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to Chevron to incidentally take, by Level A and/or Level B harassment, seven species of marine mammals during the Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project in San Francisco Bay,California.This Authorization is applicable from June 1, 2018 through May 31,2019. It is issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NMFS uses its Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (“Acoustic Guidance”) in issuing this Take authorization.

Click here for more details and relevant links.


Beyond the coast 2018: JNCC’s Conference on the future of the offshore

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation. On June 26, 2018 through June 27, 2018, the JNCC will hold its above-captioned conference at Canham Turner Building, University of Hull, United Kingdom.

2018 marks the 10-year anniversary of the first Marine Protected Area designated in UK offshore waters.  To mark this milestone, JNCC are launching ‘Beyond the Coast’, a conference specifically focussed on progressive marine conservation in the UK’s offshore marine environment.


The International Association of Geophysical Contractors published the following summary of IAGC’s Fact Sheet on Atlantic seismic surveys:

  • “It has been more than 30 years since the U.S. has explored the Atlantic for oil and natural gas energy resources. Approximately 80%of the proposed mid- and south Atlantic lease planning areas has never been surveyed.
  • There are currently eight Geological and Geophysical (G&G) permits pending with BOEM for the Atlantic OCS; six of these are for seismic surveys, TGS, GXT (ION), WesternGeco, CGG, Spectrum, and PGS. With the exception of PGS (3D), all seismic surveys proposed are for 2D seismic.