Biological Opinion on the Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Gulf of Mexico and Shell Offshore Inc. for Aviation Operations Associated with Ice Condition Monitoring
Biological opinion on the Planned Ice Overflight Survey Program in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas from May 2015 to April 2016. NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2015-9448
This opinion evaluates the effects of the proposed action on the threatened Arctic ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida), the Beringia distinct population segment of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus nautica), and proposed critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seal. NOAA Fisheries PR1 determined that this proposed action will not affect ESA-listed cetaceans (Shane Guan, NOAA Fisheries PR1 Pers. Comm. May 6, 2015) because whales are unlikely to be present in the vicinity of ice-coring activities (and associated helicopter landings) and are unlikely to be disturbed by passing fixed-wing aircraft associated with this project. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries PR1 has not included any cetacean species in its proposed action and no take of such species is authorized.
Action Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Protected Resources - Permits and Conservation Division