Biological Opinion on the Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization to SAExploration, Inc. for Marine 3D Ocean Bottom Node Seismic Activities in the U.S. Beaufort Sea, Alaska, during the 2015 Open Water Season
Biological opinion on the potential effects of open-water seismic surveys by SAE in the nearshore waters of the U.S. Beaufort Sea on endangered and threatened species and designated critical habitat. NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2015-9451.
This opinion considers the effects of the issuance of an IHA to take marine mammals by harassment under the MMPA incidental to open-water seismic surveys. These surveys will be conducted by SAE in the nearshore waters of the U.S. Beaufort Sea from July 1 to October 15, 2015. These actions have the potential to affect the endangered bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), threatened Arctic subspecies of ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida), and Beringia DPS of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus nauticus). Although the action area overlaps with proposed ringed seal critical habitat, proposed ringed seal critical habitat is not included in this consultation because the designation is not expected to be finalized in 2015.
Action Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources-Permits and Conservation Division