Biological Opinion on Three Dimensional Seismic Surveys of Cook Inlet, Alaska by SAExploration, Inc.
NOAA Fisheries' consultation on three-dimensional seismic surveys of Cook Inlet, Alaska by SAExploration, Inc.
NOAA Fisheries' Office of Protected Resources, Permits and Conservation Division requested formal consultation on regulations and subsequent issuance of a Marine Mammal Protection Act incidental harassment authorization to cover three-dimensional seismic surveys of Cook Inlet, Alaska by SAExploration, Inc. (SAE or applicant). The U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management likewise requested formal consultation on the issuance of a permit for the SAE seismic surveys in federal waters. This document constitutes NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region's opinion on the effects of these actions in accordance with section 7(a)(2) of the ESA. Specifically, this opinion considers the project as described in NOAA Fisheries PRl 's proposed rule for Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Seismic Surveys in Cook Inlet, Alaska (80 FR 14913, March 20, 2015), and analyzes the effects of the Cook Inlet 3D seismic surveys and related operations on the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), and western distinct population segment (DPS) Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus).