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Notice

Marine Mammals; File No. 16479

Action

Notice; Receipt Of Application.

Summary

Notice is hereby given that The Pacific Whale Foundation [Responsible Party: Gregory Kaufman; Principal Investigator: Daniela Maldini], 300 Maalaea Road, Suite 211, Wailuku, HI 96793, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

 

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DATES: Back to Top

Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before December 23, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

The application and related documents are available for review by selecting “Records Open for Public Comment” from the Features box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 16479 from the list of available applications.

These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the following offices:

Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376; and

Pacific Islands Region, NMFS, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Rm 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814-4700; phone (808) 944-2200; fax (808) 973-2941.

Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713-0376, or by email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment.

Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Laura Morse or Joselyd Garcia-Reyes, (301) 427-8401.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR parts 222-226).

The proposed permit would authorize vessel based research on humpback whales in Maui County waters, Hawaii to quantify the potential for near misses between vessels and humpback whales, and define the probability of 'surprise encounters' with humpback whales in relation to time of day, environmental variables, vessel behavior, whale abundance, and individual sex and age classes. Up to 567 humpback whales may be approached annually for photo-identification and behavioral observation and all Hawaiian insular false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) may be incidentally harassed by the research activities. The permit would be valid for a period of five years.

A draft environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), to examine whether significant environmental impacts could result from issuance of the proposed scientific research permit. The draft EA is available for review and comment simultaneous with the scientific research permit application.

Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

Dated: November 17, 2011.

P. Michael Payne,

Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

[FR Doc. 2011-30275 Filed 11-22-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

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