Incidental Take Authorization: Oil and Gas Industry Geophysical Survey Activity in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Fisheries has received a petition for an incidental take regulation (ITR) from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The requested ITR would govern the authorization of take of small numbers of marine mammals over the course of five years incidental to geophysical survey activities conducted by industry operators in Federal waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM). A final ITR would allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOA) to the aforementioned industry operators over a five-year period. As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, The proposed rule includes several alternatives to the proposed regulations described in the “Proposed Mitigation” and “Alternatives for Consideration” sections of the preamble, two baselines against which to evaluate the incremental economic impacts of the proposed regulations (addressed in the “Economic Baseline” section), and, two sections with broader implications: a clarification of our interpretation and application of the “small numbers” standard (see the “Small Numbers” section of the preamble); and an alternative method for assessing Level B harassment from exposure to anthropogenic noise (see the “Estimated Take” section of the preamble).
Gulf of Mexico Planning and Proposed Lease Sale Areas