Biological Opinion on Quintillion Subsea Operations, LLC, Proposed Subsea Fiber Optic Cable-laying Activities and Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization
Biological opinion on the proposed actions concerning Subsea Fiber Optic Cable-laying Activities in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas, Alaska, and their effects on endangered and threatened species and designated critical habitat for those species.
This biological opinion considers the effects of the proposed subsea cable-laying project and the associated proposed issuance of an IHA. These actions may affect the following species and designated critical habitat:
- bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus)
- fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)
- Western North Pacific (WNP) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
- Mexico DPS humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
- blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
- North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica)
- sperm whale (Physeter microcephalus)
- western North Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) whales
- western DPS Steller sea lion (Eumatopias jubatus)
- Beringia DPS bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus nauticus)
- Arctic ringed seal (Phoca hispida hispida)
- Steller sea lion critical habitat and North Pacific right whale critical habitat.
We concur with the action agency determination that this action is not likely to adversely affect the following species or critical habitats: blue, North Pacific right, sperm, and western North Pacific gray whales; North Pacific right whale critical habitat; and Steller sea lion critical habitat (see section 5.1).
Action Agency: NOAA Fisheries Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources
NMFS Consultation Number: AKR-2016-9590