Incidental Take Authorization: U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) along Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (2018-2023)
NOAA Fisheries has received a request from the U.S. Navy (Navy) to extend the time period from November 2023 to November 2025 for Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) regulations authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to Navy training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area. In August 2018, the MMPA was amended by the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 to allow for seven-year authorizations for military readiness activities, as compared to the previously allowed five years. The Navy’s activities qualify as military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA as amended by the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2004. In making the request to extend the time period covered by the MMPA AFTT regulations from five to seven years, the Navy proposes no changes to their specified activities, the geographical region in which those activities would be conducted, mitigation measures, monitoring, or reporting over the longer seven-year period.
NOAA Fisheries, upon request from the U.S. Navy, issues these regulations pursuant to the MMPA to govern the taking of marine mammals incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area over the course of five years beginning in November 2018. These regulations, which allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and timeframes, prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and establish requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.