The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to the U.S. Air Force. This IHA authorizes the Air Force to take marine mammals,by harassment, incidental to Maritime Strike Operations in the Gulf of Mexico. This IHA is effective August 19, 2013, through August 18, 2014.
The Marine Mammal Commission commented on the proposed IHA that all permanent hearing loss should be considered a serious injury and recommended that NMFS propose to issue regulations under section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA and a letter of authorization, rather than anincidental harassment authorization, for any proposed activities expected to cause a permanent threshold shift (PTS).
NMFS responded to this comment in part by stating, “PTS is considered an injury to the auditory system, but not a serious injury.”
Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice of this IHA.