FWS Publishes Revised Walrus and Otter SARs

In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published Federal register notice of FWS’ revised stock assessment report for the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) stock and for each of the
following northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) stocks in Alaska: Southwest, Southcentral, and Southeast.  Click here to read Federal Register notice of these revised SARs.



NMFS Seeks Comment on Buccaneer Seismic IHA for Upper Cook Inlet

NMFS has received an application from Buccaneer Alaska Operation, LLC (Buccaneer) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting a multi-well offshore exploratory a multi-well offshore exploratory drilling program in upper Cook Inlet during the 2014 open water season. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to Buccaneer to incidentally take, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during the specified activity. NMFS must receive any comments and information no later than May 7, 2014.  Click here to read Federal Register notice  of this IHA.

IMO Guidelines on Shipping Noise

The International Maritime Organization adopted guidelines to reduce underwater noise from commercial ships

The new guidelines:

–         recognize that shipping noise may have short-term and long-term impacts on marine life;

–         call for measurement of shipping noise according to objective ISO standards, which are themselves on the verge of adoption;

–         identify computational models for determining effective quieting measures;

–         provide guidance for designing quieter ships and for reducing noise from existing ships, especially from propeller cavitation; and

Hague Court Rules Against Japanese Whaling

In a 12-to-4 judgment, the International Court of Justice in The Hague court found that Japan was in breach of its international obligations by catching and killing minke whales and issuing permits for hunting humpback and fin whales within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, established by the International Whaling Commission.

Reading a summary of the judgment, the presiding judge, Peter Tomka of Slovakia, said that the latest Japanese program, which was expanded in 2005, had involved the killing of thousands of minke whales and a number of fin whales, but that its “scientific output to date appears limited.” The ruling suggests that Japan’s whaling hunt was based on politics and logistics, rather than science.