Marine Mammals Management
Alaska Region


Incidental Harassment Authorization

What are Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs)?
Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) established an expedited process to apply for authorization for incidental take of small numbers of marine mammals where the take will be limited to harassment. The Service may issue an IHA for a period of up to one year. The MMPA establishes the following schedule for consideration of requests for IHAs:

  1. Review of application an publication in Federal Register (45 days)
  2. Public comment period (30 days)
  3. Issue or deny authorization (45 days)  

How to Apply for an IHA:

  1. Verify the following:
    1. Your proposed activity has the potential to cause take
    2. Your action will involve incidental, but not intentional taking. Activities for which take is part of the activity, including but not limited to import, export, transport, scientific research, capture, and filming, require a permit
    3. Take is limited to harassment only
  2. Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Marine Mammals Managment office at 1-800-362-5148 for further assistance.

Incidental Harassment Authorizations available for Public Review

Current Actions
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), has received a request from BlueCrest Energy, Inc. (BlueCrest), Anchorage, Alaska for authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA) to take by harassment small numbers of northern sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) incidental to proposed oil and gas exploration activities in Cook Inlet, Alaska, for a period of 1 year.  In accordance with provisions of the MMPA, as amended, we have evaluated the potential impacts to northern sea otters and now propose to issue an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) for these activities.  We anticipate no take by injury or death and include none in this proposed authorization. The proposed IHA and the associated draft National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Assessment (EA) are available for public comment. Comments will be accepted until  June 13, 2016.

Persons wishing to comment on the draft IHA or draft EA may do so by:

  • Email:
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Marine Mammals Management, Attn: Chrisopher Putnam,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: 341, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; or
  • Fax: 907-786-3816, attention Christopher Putnam

Previous Actions
2014:  Potential Impacts to Northern Sea Otters in Cook Inlet from Oil and Gas Exploration by Apache Alaska Corporation (Apache), SAExploration, Inc., LLC (SAE), and BlueCrest Energy, Inc. (BlueCrest), formerly Buccaneer Alaska Operations, LLC.


Last updated: May 2016