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Soundings Archive

NMFS Intends to Authorize Navy to Kill Whales in Alaska
On February 3, 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published Federal Register notice announcing its intent to issue a letter if authorization for the U.S. Navy for the taking and importing of marine mammals during Navy training activities conducted in the Gulf of Alaska. The Navy activities are be military readiness training activities to be conducted in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area for the period beginning December 2010 and ending December 2015. The LOA would be issued pursuant to general regulations NMFS issued under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Information, suggestions, and comments on the Navy's application and request must be received by NMFS no later than March 5, 2010.

A copy of the Navy's application may be obtained by visiting the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm. The Navy's Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the GOA TMAA was made available to the public on December 11, 2009, and may be viewed at http://www.gulfofalaskanavyeis.com/. During the initial 45-day public comment period, the Navy hosted five public hearings.

The affected Navy activities include utilizing mid- and high frequency active sonar sources and explosive detonations. These sonar and explosive sources will be utilized during Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) Tracking and Torpedo Exercises, Extended Echo Ranging, Improved Extended Echo Ranging, and Advanced Extended Echo Ranging (EER/IEER/AEER) events, Missile Exercises, Gunnery Exercises, Bombing Exercises, and Sinking Exercises.

The Navy estimates that its covered activities will take individuals of 20 species of marine mammals (15 cetaceans and 5 pinnipeds) through Level B behavioral harassment.

"Further, the Navy requests authorization to take 3 individual beaked whales (of any of the following species: Baird's beaked whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, Stejneger's beaked whale) annually by serious injury or mortality."

  • Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice

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