The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the time period from December 2023 to December 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area. NMFS has published Federal Register notice of its intent to grant the Navy’s request. NMFS’ notice reads in part as follows:
“In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for 7-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time period covered by the MMPA HSTT regulations from five to seven years, the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-year period. Pursuant to the MMPA, NMFS is requesting comments on the proposed seven-year rule and associated Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to cover the same activities covered by the existing 2018 HSTT regulations. NMFS will consider all public comments prior to issuing any final rule and making final decisions on the issuance of the requested LOAs, and agency responses will be summarized in the notice of the final decision. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 15, 2019.”
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