Marine Mammal Commission Annual Meeting: 2014

The Marine Mammal Commission held its annual meeting and addressed a wide range of challenges.

Of particular interest was a presentation by Mr. Don Schregardus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy- Environment who presented the Navy views on the Marine Mammal Protection Act. His conclusions included the following:

“Length of time necessary to obtain authorizations (>5 yrs) threatens mission critical training.

Current process is costly ($500M+ over ten yrs), manpower intensive, lengthy (4-6 yrs for each range) and unending (MMPA limits LOA to 5 years maximum).”

Hopefully the Commission will address some of these observations during the next year and report on them at the next meeting.

PSOs with PAM Experience Needed

A.I.S., Inc. is recruiting trained and experienced PSOs for several upcoming projects in the US Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and North Pacific.   Work is available starting in June.  Candidates will be selected based on their experience performing PSO duties.  At a minimum candidates should have the following:

*         NMFS and BOEM approved training

*         HUET-Helicopter Underwater Egress Training

*         Water safety/survival training with swing rope training

*         CPR and 1st Aid certifications

Candidates with Passive Acoustic Monitoring experience are also encouraged to apply.

MMC Comments on Proposed BP Beaufort Sea IHA

The Marine Mammal Commission, in consultation with its Committee ofScientific Advisors on Marine Mammals, filed comments on the December 2013 application from BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BP), seeking an incidental harassment authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to take small numbers of marine mammals by harassment incidental to a three-dimensional (3D) seismic survey in North Prudhoe Bay, Beaufort Sea, Alaska during the 2014 Arctic open-water season. MMC filed these comments in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s 15 May 2014 notice (79 Fed. Reg. 21354) announcing receipt of the application and proposing to issue the authorization, subject to certain conditions.

NMFS Seeks Comments on Seal Harvest

Pursuant to its regulations governing the subsistence taking of northern fur seals, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service seeks comments on its summary of  the annual fur seal subsistence harvests on St. George and St. Paul Islands (the Pribilof Islands) for 2011–2013,  and on its proposed annual estimates of fur seal subsistence harvests for 2014–2016 on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska. NMFS must receive any comments no later than June 13, 2014.  Click here to read Federal Register notice soliciting comments.

Navy Living Marine Resource Program BAA – Call for Pre-proposals

The Navy Living Marine Resources  applied research program is seeking pre-proposals in three topic areas related to underwater sound produced by human activities and its effect on marine life.  Topics include hearing measurements in a broad range of marine mammal species, population density estimation from passive acoustic monitoring, and marine species monitoring data collection toolkit development.  Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the LMR website , for more information about the LMR program and the solicitation.  Federal government applicants are not eligible to submit proposals under the BAA, but will be able to submit proposal statements directly to the relevant Navy Statement of Need.  Academic, non-federal government, nonprofit, and private sector submitters should select the Broad Agency Announcement,Solicitation Number N39430-14-R-1464, when submitting their proposal.  The BAA can be viewed at the LMR website . All submissions must be made via the LMR website.  The solicitation period will close on 16 June 2014 (see website or BAA for official dates and other guidance).

Mexican Society for Marine Mammals Meets

The Mexican Society for Marine Mammals (SOMEMMA) is holding their *XXXIV International Meeting for the Study of Marine Mammals  in Quertaro City, May 12 – 15, 2014. The meeting’s theme this year is “Multidisciplinarity as a strategy to solve marine mammal conservation conundrums.” The keynote speakers are Frances Gulland, Mariano Sironi, Laura Martinez-Levasseur and Ileana Espejel. For more information, please click here.