NOAA Issues More Protective Rules for Marine Mammals

By Wu, Nina | Honolulu Star - Advertiser, December 24, 2018 | Go to article overview

NOAA Issues More Protective Rules for Marine Mammals


Wu, Nina, Honolulu Star - Advertiser


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it has authorized new rules that are more protective of marine mammals during U.S. Naval training and testing exercises in the Pacific than ever proposed in the past.

NOAA said on Thursday that the new rules under the Marine Mammal Protection Act — the third authorized in a series of five-year regulations for the Navy’s Hawaii-Southern California training and testing activities — will allow for only incidental, not intentional, “takes” of marine mammals, and cover a larger area, through December 2023.

By “take,” NOAA means the disruption of behavioral patterns or temporary hearing impairment among marine mammals, as well as some significantly lesser number of injuries and a very small number of mortalities.

“The Navy has balanced our conservation requirements for marine mammals with their critical national security requirements for training and military readiness,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, acting undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at NOAA, in a news release. “As the acting NOAA administrator and a retired Navy admiral, I know this is a win-win for marine mammal protection and national defense.”

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service regularly evaluates the predicted impacts of human activities on protected marine species and may require other agencies and entities to modify their activities. …

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