MMO and PAM Training for New Zealand Seismic Code Compliance

Ocean Science Consulting Limited is running a Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitoring training course, which has been approved by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as being consistent with standards in the ‘2013 code of conduct for minimizing acoustic disturbance to marine mammals from seismic survey operations’. OSC’s DOC-approved course is the first and currently only combined MMO and PAM training available in the world for working in NZ waters. The first course ran successfully in May 2014, and due to popular demand, will be available to candidates again in November 2014, in preparation for the Antipodean seismic exploration season.

NMFS Seeks Comment on its Reg Review Plan

The U.S. Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan describes how NMFS will perform this review and describes the regulations that are being proposed for review during the current review cycle.

Written comments on this Plan must be received by NMFS by October 8, 2014.

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice seeking comment on its Reg Review Plan.



NMFS Reviewing ESA Status of Sperm Whales and Southern Right Whales

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has announced a 5-year review of the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. A 5-year review is a periodic process conducted to ensure that the listing classification of a species is accurate. A 5-year review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. NMFS requests submission of any information on southern right whales and sperm whales that has become available since their last 5-year review in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Blue Whales Recover

Recent studies indicate that there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago. The Los Angeles Times reports ( there are about 2,200 blue whales swimming on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, from the equator up into Alaska.

The study uses historical data to estimate that the number of whales caught between 1905 and 1971 – when whaling became illegal – is 97 percent as large as it was before 1905.


NMFS Extends Comment Period for Beluga Whale Listing Petition

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service received a petition to “designate the Sakhalin Bay-Amur River stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) as a depleted stock under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).” On August 1, 2014, NMFS announced that the petition presented substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted and that NMFS would initiate a status review promptly. NMFS also solicited information from the public that may contribute to the status review. NMFS is extending the comment period for 30 days.

The comment period for the petition finding published August 1, 2014, at 79 FR 44733, is extended. Information and comments must be received by close of business on September 29, 2014.