NOAA announces regulations to protect marine mammals during Navy training and testing in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

NOAA Fisheries announced today final regulations requiring the United States Navy to implement protective measures during training and testing activities in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico to reduce effects on marine mammals.

The Navy requested an authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, because the sound generated by active sonar, the sound and pressure generated by detonating explosives, and other associated activities could affect the behavior of some marine mammals, or cause a temporary loss of their hearing sensitivity or other injury.

The Navy’s current authorization expires in January 2014. The purpose of the Navy training and testing is to ensure the readiness of naval forces. Under the MMPA, this new authorization is limited to five years, and expires in November 2018.

NOAA Fisheries recently made a final determination that the effects of these Navy operations would have a negligible impact on the overall species or stocks involved. Based on that final determination, NOAA Fisheries is requiring that the Navy use mitigation measures and, if properly followed, expects the exercises will not to result in serious injury or death to a large number of marine mammals.

Click here to read the full NOAA Fisheries press release.