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Notice

Incidental Take of Marine Mammals; Taking of Marine Mammals Incidental to Missile Launch Operations from San Nicolas Island, CA

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of issuance of a letter of authorization.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, notification is hereby given that a letter of authorization (LOA) to take 3 species of marine mammals incidental to missile launch operations from San Nicolas Island, CA (SNI) was issued on October 8, 2004, to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWC-WD), Point Mugu, CA.

DATES:

This authorization is effective from October 8, 2004, through October 7, 2005.

ADDRESSES:

The application and LOA are available for review in the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kenneth Hollingshead, NMFS, (301) 713-2289, ext 128.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs NMFS to allow, on request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region, if certain findings are made by NMFS and regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term “taking” means to harass, hunt, capture, Start Printed Page 61657or kill or to attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill marine mammals.

Permission may be granted for periods up to 5 years if NMFS finds, after notification and opportunity for public comment, that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) of marine mammals and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses. In addition, NMFS must prescribe regulations that include permissible methods of taking and other means effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species and its habitat and on the availability of the species for subsistence uses, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. The regulations must include requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. Regulations governing the taking incidental to target missile operations on San Nicolas Island, CA, were published on September 2, 2003 (68 FR 52132), and remain in effect until October 2, 2008.

Issuance of the LOA to the NAWC-WD is based on findings made in the preamble to the final rule that the total takings by this project would result in only small numbers (as the term is defined in 50 CFR 216.103) of marine mammals being taken. In addition, the resultant incidental harassment would have no more than a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal stocks or habitats and would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on subsistence uses of marine mammals. NMFS also finds that the applicant will meet the requirements contained in the implementing regulations and LOA, including monitoring and reporting requirements. This LOA will be renewed annually based on a review of the activity, completion of monitoring requirements and receipt of reports required by the LOA.

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Dated: October 8, 2004.

Laurie K. Allen,

Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-23486 Filed 10-19-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S