NMFS Issues L-DEO a Seismic IHA for the Aleutian Islands

In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act amended, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an incidental harassment authorization to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University to incidentally harass marine mammals during a marine geophysical survey in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. The authorization is effective for a period of one year, from September 1, 2020, through August 31, 2021

On March 27, 2020, NMFS received a request from L–DEO for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to a marine geophysical survey along and across the Aleutian Andreanof Arc in Alaska. L– DEO submitted a revised version of the application, which was deemed adequate and complete, on June 25, 2020. NMFS published a proposed IHA for public review and comment on July 28, 2020 (85 FR 45389).

NMFS has authorized take of 24 species of marine mammals by harassment. For seven of these species, taking by Level A and Level B harassment is authorized, with only Level B harassment authorized for the remaining 17 species. Description of Proposed Activity Overview Researchers from L–DEO and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), with funding from the National Science Foundation, proposed to conduct a high-energy seismic survey from the Research Vessel (R/V) Marcus G. Langseth (Langseth) along and across the Aleutian Andreanof Arc in Alaska during September-October 2020. The two-dimensional (2–D) seismic survey will occur within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States. The survey will use a 36-airgun towed array with a total discharge volume of ∼6,600 cubic inches (in3) (108,155 cm3) as an acoustic source, acquiring return signals using both a towed streamer as well as ocean bottom seismometers.

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