Incidental Take Authorization: U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) along Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (2018-2025)
NOAA Fisheries has issued regulations pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (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 seven years, effectively extending the time period from November 13, 2023, to November 13, 2025. 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. These regulations, which allow for the issuance of Letters of Authorization (LOAs) 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.