[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 8 (Thursday, January 12, 2017)]
[Page 3727]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00472]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF085

Marine Mammals; File Nos. 18059 and 19655

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice; receipt of applications.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that David Wiley, Ph.D., Stellwagen 
Bank National Marine Sanctuary, 175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, MA 
02066 and Adam Pack, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Hilo, 200 West 
Kawili Street, Hilo, HI 96720, have applied in due form for permits to 
conduct scientific research on cetaceans.

DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or 
before February 13, 2017.

ADDRESSES: The applications and related documents are available for 
review by selecting ``Records Open for Public Comment'' from the 
``Features'' box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species 
(APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File 
No. 18059 or 19655 from the list of available applications.
    These documents are also available upon written request or by 
appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver 
Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.
    Written comments on these applications should be submitted to the 
Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. 
Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713-0376, or by 
email to [email protected]. Please include the File No. in the 
subject line of the email comment.
    Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a 
written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the 
address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons 
why a hearing on these applications would be appropriate.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Young or Amy Hapeman (File No. 
18059), Carrie Hubard or Shasta McClenahan (File No. 19655), (301) 427-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The subject permits are requested under the 
authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended 
(MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking 
and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the 
regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of 
endangered and threatened species (50 CFR 222-226).
    File No. 18059: The applicant requests a five-year scientific 
research permit to investigate the foraging ecology, habitat use, 
physiology, and acoustic and social behavior of humpback (Megaptera 
noveaeangliae), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), minke (B. acutorostrata), 
and sei (B. borealis) whales in the Gulf of Maine. Up to 130 adult and 
juvenile humpbacks, 90 fin, 60 minke, and 70 sei whales would be 
approached for suction cup tagging, prey mapping, obtaining biological 
samples including biopsies, and photo ID. Up to 10 humpback calves, 5 
fin calves, and 4 sei calves would also be approached for tagging and 
blow sampling. Up to 690 humpback, 480 fin, 250 minke, and 370 sei 
whales would be incidentally harassed during this research.
    File No. 19655: The applicant proposes to study humpback whales and 
other cetacean species in the waters off the Hawaiian Islands and 
Alaska. Research methods include passive acoustics, photo-
identification, photogrammetry, opportunistic collection of fecal and 
skin samples, and remote biopsy sampling. A subset of humpback whales 
would also receive suction cup tags. Other endangered species targeted 
for study include: Blue (B. musculus), bowhead (Balaena mysticetus), 
fin, North Pacific right (Eubalaena japonica), sei, and sperm whales 
(Physeter macrocephalus) and the Main Hawaiian Insular stock of false 
killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens). An additional 21 marine mammal 
species would also be studied. The objectives of the research are to 
continue the long-term population study of the behavior, biology, and 
communication systems of humpback whales and other cetaceans. Specific 
topics to be investigated include individual life histories, social 
roles, migration, habitat use, distribution, and evolution of humpback 
song. The permit would be valid for five years.
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that 
the activities proposed are categorically excluded from the requirement 
to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact 
    Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal 
Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the applications to the Marine 
Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

    Dated: January 6, 2017.
Julia Harrison,
Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected 
Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-00472 Filed 1-11-17; 8:45 am]