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Marine Mammals; File No. 781-1824

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


Notice; receipt of application for permit amendment.


Notice is hereby given that the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC, Dr. M. Bradley Hanson, Principal Investigator), 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, Washington 98112-2097, has applied for an amendment to Scientific Research Permit No. 781-1824-01.


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


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 home page,, and then selecting File No. 781-1824 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

Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, BIN C15700, Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115-0700; phone (206) 526-6150; fax (206) 526-6426.

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 Please include File No. 781-1824 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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Amy Sloan or Laura Morse, (301) 713-2289.

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The subject amendment to Permit No. 781-1824-01 is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (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 (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).

Permit No. 781-1824-00 (issued on March 31, 2006; 74 FR 19875), as amended by Permit No. 781-1824-01 Start Printed Page 68758(minor amendment issued on May 26, 2006), authorizes the permit holder to conduct research to determine the abundance, distribution, movement patterns, habitat use, contaminant levels, prey, behavior, energetics, and stock structure of cetacean species in the eastern North Pacific off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. These studies are carried out through vessel surveys, photo-identification from large and small vessels, biological sample collection, passive acoustic monitoring, and satellite/radio and data log/time-depth tagging and tracking. The permit authorizes NWFSC to take endangered blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), and Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW, Orcinus orca), as well as 15 non-ESA-listed cetacean species. The permit expires on April 14, 2011.

The permit holder is requesting the permit be amended to increase the number of SRKW suction cup tagged (from 10 to 20 animals annually) and to add satellite tagging of six SRKW with dart tags annually. The primary purpose of this request is to determine winter ranges and increase data on distribution patterns of SRKW for use in critical habitat determinations. The activities are requested for the duration of the permit.

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), a draft supplemental environmental assessment (SEA) has been prepared to examine whether significant environmental impacts could result from issuance of the proposed scientific research permit. The draft SEA 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 this application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

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Dated: November 3, 2010.

P. Michael Payne,

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

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[FR Doc. 2010-28271 Filed 11-8-10; 8:45 am]