What are Incidental Take Regulations?
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA), as amended, prohibits, with certain exceptions, the take of marine mammals in U.S. waters. Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), to authorize the incidental, but not intentional taking of small numbers of certain marine mammals species (including polar bears, walruses, and sea otters) associated with specified activities, provided that, the total of such taking will have no more than a negligible impact on these marine mammal species and does not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence uses. The Service may issue ITRs for a period of up to five years.
What are Letters of Authorization?
If ITRs are promulgated for a specified activity in a specified geographical region U.S. citizens can request a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the Service to carry out these activities under an exemption of the MMPA. LOAs are issued on a project specific basis and include operating restrictions and other mitigation measures designed to minimize interactions with, and impacts to marine mammals. LOAs also specify monitoring and reporting requirements to evaluate the level and impact of any resulting takes. Depending upon the nature, location and timing of the proposed activity, applicants may be required to consult with potentially effected subsistence communities, and develop additional mitigation measures to address potential impacts to subsistence users. More information on applying for and receiving an LOA can be found at 50 CFR 18.27(f).
To request an LOA please contact the Service:
|1011 East Tudor Road, MS 341
|Anchorage, Alaska 99503
August 5, 2016 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a Federal Register notice implementing Incidental Take Regulations (ITRs) for the non-lethal, incidental take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walruses associated with ongoing oil and gas activities in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring coast. The Service did this in response to a request from the oil and gas industry (Industry), through the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. Industry requested new regulations to replace similar Southern Beaufort Sea Regulations which expired on August 3, 2016. The new ITRs and the associated National Environmental Policy (NEPA) Act Environmental Assessment (EA) and finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) were finalized after considerations of comments received from the public.
You can view this new rule, and supporting documents, below, or at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R7–ES–2016–0060.
Incidental Take Regulations and Letters of Authorization available for Public Review
Oil and Gas Exploration in the Chukchi Sea
Oil and Gas Operations in the Beaufort Sea
Last updated: August 2016