MMS Petition: 2002

 On December 20, 2002, MMS petitioned NMFS, as a precautionary measure, for rulemaking under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA to authorize any potential take of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) incidental to conducting seismic surveys during oil and gas exploration activities in the GOM (MMS, 2002a).

 MMS has preliminarily determined that the taking will involve only small numbers of sperm whales; have no more than a negligible impact on the species and stocks of affected marine mammals; and not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of marine mammals for subsistence uses. It should be noted that MMS expects to update its petition for regulations to include the incidental take of other species of marine mammals, such as dolphins, beaked whales, and Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni), based upon information currently being assessed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).



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