Shell Withdraws an IHA, while Rice Applies for One
Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of NMFS' IHA application
On June 23, 2009, the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service published Federal Register notice that Shell Offshore, Inc. has withdrawn its application for an Incidental Harassment Authorization. The withdrawn IHA is for the take of small numbers of marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to conducting open-water offshore exploratory drilling on outer continental shelf oil lease blocks in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska during the 2008/2009 open-water season. NMFS offered the following explanation of Shell's withdrawal:
"During the time since submitting its January 2007 Beaufort Sea OCS Lease Exploration Plan for 2007-2009 to the Minerals Management Service, Shell's priority exploration drilling locations for its Beaufort Sea leases have changed."
Click here to read NMFS' Notice of Shell's IHA withdrawal
On June 18, 2009, NMFS published Federal Register notice that Rice University has applied for an IHA to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting a marine seismic survey in the Northwest Atlantic during August 2009. The application and the IHA fall under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Rice's IHA is for a low-energy marine seismic survey in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. The funding for the survey is provided by the National Science Foundation. The proposed survey will occur off New England within the U.S Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Seismic operations will occur over the continental shelf southeast of the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and likely also in Nantucket Sound. The cruise is currently scheduled to occur from August 12 to 25, 2009. The survey will use two Generator Injector airguns with a discharge volume of 90 in.
Comments and information must be received by NMFS no later than July 20, 2009.