Biological Opinion on the Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Offshore, Inc. for Exploratory Drilling in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea in 2012
Biological opinion on the potential effects of exploratory oil drilling by Shell Offshore, Inc. on the Outer Continental Shelf waters of the Beaufort Sea on marine mammals.
This opinion will address authorization by NOAA Fisheries of the incidental and unintentional taking of bowhead whales and ringed and bearded seals due to exploratory oil drilling by Shell Offshore, Inc. on the Outer Continental Shelf waters of the Beaufort Sea. Section 101 (a)(5) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, directs the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request by U.S. citizens engaged in a specific activity (other than commercial fishing) in a specified geographical region, the incidental but not intentional taking of small numbers of marine mammals if certain findings are made. Such authorization may be accomplished through regulations and issuance of letters of authorization under those regulations, or through issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.
Action Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Protected Resources
NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2012-2419