National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
Notice; issuance of a letter of authorization.
In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that a 1-year letter of authorization (LOA) has been issued to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or the Sanctuary) to incidentally take, by Level B Harassment only, California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals incidental to authorizing professional fireworks displays within the Sanctuary in California waters.
The LOA will be effective from July 4, 2006, through July 3, 2007.Start Printed Page 42088
The LOA and supporting documentation are available by writing to Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation, and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225, by telephoning one of the contacts listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm. Documents cited in this notice may be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address and at the Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 713-2289, or Monica DeAngelis, Southwest Regional Office, NMFS, (562) 980-4023.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental 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 and regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term “taking” means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or to attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill marine mammals.
Authorization 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 affecting 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 for monitoring and reporting of such taking.
Regulations governing the taking of California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals, by Level B harassment, incidental to the authorization of fireworks displays within the Sanctuary became effective on July 4, 2006 (71 FR 40928, July 19, 2006), and remain in effect until July 3, 2011. For detailed information on this action, please refer to that document. These regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental taking of marine mammals during the fireworks displays within the Sanctuary boundaries. This will be the first LOA issued pursuant to these regulations.
Accordingly, NMFS has issued an LOA to MBNMS authorizing the Level B harassment of marine mammals incidental to the authorization of fireworks display within the Sanctuary. Issuance of this LOA is based on findings, described in the preamble to the final rule (71 FR 40928, July 19, 2006), that the activities described under this LOA will have no more than a negligible impact on marine mammal stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the affected marine mammal stocks for subsistence uses.Start Signature
Dated: July 19, 2006.
Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. E6-11846 Filed 7-24-06; 8:45 am]
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