SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN
December 23, 2014
NMFS Publishes Notice of Intent to Develop Guidelines for Safely Deterring Marine Mammals - Request for Input
Comment Period Ends January 15, 2015
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on the deterrence provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. To inform development of these national guidelines, NOAA Fisheries published a notice in the Federal Register on December 16, 2014 (79 FR 74710) to request input on which deterrents the public would like NMFS to evaluate and consider for approval. The comment period ends on January 15, 2015.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) allows for private citizens to employ measures to deter marine mammals from damaging fishing gear and catch, damaging personal or public property, or endangering personal safety, as long as these measures do not result in death or serious injury of marine mammals. The MMPA also directs the Secretary of Commerce, through NOAA Fisheries, to develop national guidelines on safely deterring marine mammals under NOAA Fisheries' jurisdiction (e.g., whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions). To inform development of these national guidelines, NMFS requests input on which deterrents the public would like NOAA Fisheries to evaluate and consider for approval. Any subsequent national guidelines for safely deterring marine mammals would then be released for public notice and comment as required by the MMPA. Such national guidelines would likely be tailored to each species group (pinnipeds, large cetaceans, and small cetaceans) as differences in physiology and behavior would affect whether a deterrent is appropriate for one or more species group. National guidelines would also address relevant implementation considerations. Deterrents could be considered ''passive'' or ''active'' in nature. Deterrents may include physical barriers, acoustic deterrent and harassment devices, visual repellents, boat hazing, noisemakers, and physical contact. For each deterrent device or technique submitted to NOAA Fisheries for consideration and evaluation, we request information on the specifications (e.g., source and frequency levels, pulse rate, type of fencing, size of flags, etc.) for each deterrent or technique, which marine mammal species or species group (large cetaceans, small cetaceans, pinnipeds) would be deterred, how a deterrent would be employed (e.g., attached to fishing gear, launched some distance from a marine mammal), any evidence that the deterrent will not result in mortality or serious injury, and any other implementation considerations. This information will help NOAA Fisheries determine which devices or techniques are appropriate for the development of guidelines and specific measures for safely deterring both non-ESA listed and ESA listed marine mammals.
You may submit comments by the following methods:
- Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
- Mail: NOAA Fisheries Service
Southeast Regional Office
Protected Resources Division
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this bulletin may not be considered.
For a complete list of NOAA Fishery Bulletins, click here.
FB14-099: NMFS Publishes Notice of Intent to Develop Guidelines for Safely Deterring Marine Mammals - Request for Input - Comment Period Ends January 15, 2015