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Notice

Marine Mammals; File No. 14534

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice; receipt of amended application.

SUMMARY:

Notice is hereby given that Ned Cyr, Director, NOAA Office of Science and Technology, Silver Spring, MD, has submitted a revised application for a permit to conduct research on marine mammals in the Pacific Ocean.

DATES:

Written, telefaxed, or e-mail comments must be received on or before April 9, 2010.

ADDRESSES:

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. 14534 from the list of available applications.

These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the following office(s):

Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 713-2289; fax (301) 713-0376; and

Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4213; phone (562) 980-4001; fax (562) 980-4018.

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 e-mail to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include the File No. in the subject line of the e-mail comment.

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

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tammy Adams or Carrie Hubard, (301) 713-2289.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On September 11, 2009, notice was published (74 FR 46745) of a request for a permit 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 222-226).

The original application is a request for a five-year permit to conduct a research program involving studies of sound production, diving and other Start Printed Page 11132behavior, and responses to sound of marine mammals, including endangered species. The results would be integrated with related studies and directly contribute to conservation management for sound producers and regulatory agencies by identifying characteristics of target species that are critical for passive monitoring, detection, and/or density estimation and by demonstrating how specific sounds, including simulated military sonar, may evoke behavioral responses in marine mammals. The experimental design involves temporarily attaching individual recording tags to measure vocalization, behavior, and physiological parameters as well as sound exposure. Behavior will be measured before, during, and after carefully controlled exposures of sound in conventional playback experiments. Tagged subjects will be exposed to received sound levels up to 180 dB re: 1µPa. This study will involve various activities that could take animals by harassment, including close approaches, attachment of tags, and sound exposure. Small fragments of sloughed skin, which often remain attached to retrieved tags, would be used for genetic analyses. Target species include beaked whales and other odontocetes, key baleen whales, and pinniped species for whom such data have not been previously obtained; other marine species may be incidentally impacted. Please refer to the tables in the application for the numbers of marine mammals, by species and stock, that are proposed for this permit. The research will be focused in the waters within the U.S. Navy's Southern California Range Complex, and primarily near the vicinity of San Clemente Island.

The applicant has revised the application to (1) increase the number of Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) that may be harassed by close approach, focal follow, tag attachment, and sound exposure, to include these species as focal animals in the overall objectives; (2) increase the number of requested “tagless” playbacks for some cetacean species, such as blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) and the social pelagic delphinids, but not for the more solitary and deep-diving beaked whale species, to increase data obtained on behavioral responses; (3) modify the proposed action area slightly northward to 35° 0' N; the longitude boundaries remain as before (from 116° 0' to 127° 0' W); and (4) clarify tagging and playback protocols and mitigation for when dependent calves are present.

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.

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Dated: March 3, 2010.

Tammy C. Adams,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-5014 Filed 3-9-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-S