The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received an application from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment only, incidental to conducting a marine geophysical survey in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, mid-November through December, 2015. The proposed dates for this action would be mid-November 2015 through December 31, 2015, to account for minor deviations due to logistics and weather.
Per the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS requests comments on its proposal to issue an Authorization to Lamont-Doherty to incidentally take, by Level B harassment, 22 species of marine mammals during the specified activity and to incidentally take by Level A harassment, four species of marine mammals. Although considered unlikely, any Level A harassment potentially incurred would be expected to be in the form of some smaller degree of permanent hearing loss due in part to the required monitoring measures for detecting marine mammals and required mitigation measures for power downs or shut downs of 2 the airgun array if any animal is likely to enter the Level A exclusion zone. Neither mortality nor complete deafness of marine mammals is expected to result from this survey.
NMFS must receive comments and information on or before October 4, 2015.