NMFS Issues MMPA Take Rules for Navy in Hawaii-Southern California

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issued regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the the U.S. Navy’s unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Study Area from December 2013 through December 2018. These regulations allow NMFS to issue Letters of Authorization for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take.

Eighth International Conference “Marine Mammals of the Holarctic”

Following the decision of the Seventh International Conference “Marine
Mammals of the Holarctic” (Suzdal, Russia, September 2012) the Marine
Mammal Council (Russia) is organizing the Eighth International Conference
“Marine Mammals of the Holarctic”.

The conference is planned to be held on the base of SUE  (Vodokanal of St.
Petersburg), St. Petersburg, Russia during 22-27 September 2014.

The purpose of the Conference is to discuss results and prospects for
study, conservation and use of marine mammals of the northern Hemisphere.
Although all topics concerning cetaceans, pinnipeds, sea otters, and polar
bears are welcome, the following topics will be emphasized:

NMFS Removes Sunset Clause from Right Whale Ship Strike Rules

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has eliminated the expiration date (or “sunset clause”) contained in regulations requiring vessel speed restrictions to reduce the likelihood of lethal vessel collisions with North Atlantic right whales. The regulations restrict vessel speeds to no more than 10 knots for vessels 65 ft (19.8 m) or greater in overall length in certain locations and at certain times of the year along the east coast of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. The purpose of the regulation is to reduce the likelihood of deaths and serious injuries to endangered North Atlantic right whales that result from collisions with ships. The speed regulations will expire December 9, 2013, unless the sunset clause is removed. With this final rule, NMFS has removed the rule’s sunset provision. All other aspects of the rule remain in place until circumstances warrant further changes to the rule.

New Navy Facebook Page Includes Marine Mammals

The U.S. Navy’s Fleet Forces Command has a new Facebook page: U.S. Navy Stewards of the Sea. The Navy hopes that this page will be a source of information regarding the U.S. Navy’s environmental stewardship efforts: e.g., marine mammal monitoring efforts, oyster reef restoration projects, and sea turtle tagging efforts. Click here for Navy’s new Facebook page.