Marine Mammals and Endangered Species
Notice is hereby given that permits and permit amendments have been issued to the following entities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as applicable.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing Permits
The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration. The Exempted Fishing Permit would allow commercial fishing vessels to fish outside of scallop regulations in support of funding research under the Scallop Research Set-Aside Program by conducting compensation fishing. Regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act require publication of this notification to provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on applications for proposed Exempted Fishing Permits.
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental To Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Marine Site Characterization Surveys Off of Coastal Virginia
NMFS received a request from Dominion Energy Virginia (Dominion) on February 5, 2021, for a modification to the incidental harassment authorization (IHA) that was initially issued on August 28, 2020 and subsequently modified and issued on December 11, 2020. The initial IHA as now modified allowed Dominion to take nine species of marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to marine site characterization surveys conducted in the areas of the Commercial Lease of Submerged Lands for Renewable Energy Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Virginia (Lease No. OCS-A-0483) as well as in coastal waters where an export cable corridor will be established. Dominion has recently been recording take of common dolphin (Delphinus Delphis) by Level B harassment at a rate that would exceed their authorized take limit. Therefore, NMFS is proposing to modify the IHA to increase authorized take by Level B harassment of common dolphin. The mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures remain the same as prescribed in the initial IHA and no additional take was requested for other species. NMFS will consider public comments on the requested modification prior to making any final decision and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision.