NMFS Seeks Comment on Scripps IHA for Seismic Surveys In the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean
On September 3, 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published Federal Register notice seeking public comment on NMFS' proposed issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California. This IHA would authorize Scripps to take marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to conducting a low-energy marine seismic survey. The seismic survey would occur in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, encompassing the area from approximately 8[deg] N-12[deg] S and 80-91[deg] W, off the coasts of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, in International Waters and within the Exclusive
Economic Zones (EEZs) of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador. The seismic survey is scheduled to occur from October 19-November 14, 2010.
Comments and information on this Scripps IHA must be received by NMFS no later than October 4, 2010.
NMFS first received this IHA application from Scripps on May 28, 2010. This low-energy seismic survey would be conducted by Scripps in collaboration with Texas A&M University and with research funding provided by the National Science Foundation. NMFS reviewed SIO's initial application and identified a number of issues requiring further clarification. After addressing comments from NMFS, Scripps modified its application and submitted a revised application on July 14, 2010. After reviewing Scripps' revised application, NMFS determined that the application is complete and provides sufficient data for NMFS to make the necessary preliminary determinations pursuant to the MMPA. The revised application is the one available for public comment.
Scripps plans to use this seismic survey as part of an integrated geophysical and geochemical study. In addition to the GI airguns, a multibeam echosounder (MBES) and a sub-bottom profiler (SBP) will be utilized for research purposes. The planned survey will involve one source vessel, the R/V Melville.
The purpose of this project is to better understand how marine sediments record paleo-oceanographic information.
Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of Scripps' IHA application