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Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 216Subpart D → §216.45


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 216—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS
Subpart D—Special Exceptions


§216.45   General Authorization for Level B harassment for scientific research.

(a) General Authorization. (1) Persons are authorized under section 104(c)(3)(C) of the MMPA to take marine mammals in the wild by Level B harassment, as defined in §216.3, for purposes of bona fide scientific research Provided, That:

(i) They submit a letter of intent in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, receive confirmation that the General Authorization applies in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, and comply with the terms and conditions of paragraph (d) of this section; or

(ii) If such marine mammals are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA, they have been issued a permit under Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA and implementing regulations at 50 CFR parts 217-227, particularly at §222.23 through §222.28, to take marine mammals in the wild for the purpose of scientific research, the taking authorized under the permit involves such Level B harassment of marine mammals or marine mammal stocks, and they comply with the terms and conditions of that permit.

(2) Except as provided under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, no taking, including harassment, of marine mammals listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA is authorized under the General Authorization. Marine mammals listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA may be taken for purposes of scientific research only after issuance of a permit for such activities pursuant to the ESA.

(3) The following types of research activities will likely qualify for inclusion under the General Authorization: Photo-identification studies, behavioral observations, and vessel and aerial population surveys (except aerial surveys over pinniped rookeries at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft).

(b) Letter of intent. Except as provided under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, any person intending to take marine mammals in the wild by Level B harassment for purposes of bona fide scientific research under the General Authorization must submit, at least 60 days before commencement of such research, a letter of intent by certified return/receipt mail to the Chief, Permits Division, F/PR1, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226.

(1) The letter of intent must be submitted by the principal investigator (who shall be deemed the applicant). For purposes of this section, the principal investigator is the individual who is responsible for the overall research project, or the institution, governmental entity, or corporation responsible for supervision of the principal investigator.

(2) The letter of intent must include the following information:

(i) The name, address, telephone number, qualifications and experience of the applicant and any co-investigator(s) to be conducting the proposed research, and a curriculum vitae for each, including a list of publications by each such investigator relevant to the objectives, methodology, or other aspects of the proposed research;

(ii) The species or stocks of marine mammals (common and scientific names) that are the subject of the scientific research and any other species or stock of marine mammals that may be harassed during the conduct of the research;

(iii) The geographic location(s) in which the research is to be conducted, e.g., geographic name or lat./long.;

(iv) The period(s) of time over which the research will be conducted (up to five years), including the field season(s) for the research, if applicable;

(v) The purpose of the research, including a description of how the proposed research qualifies as bona fide research as defined in §216.3; and

(vi) The methods to be used to conduct the research.

(3) The letter of intent must be signed, dated, and certified by the applicant as follows:

In accordance with section 104(c)(3)(C) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and implementing regulations (50 CFR part 216), I hereby notify the National Marine Fisheries Service of my intent to conduct research involving only Level B harassment on marine mammals in the wild, and request confirmation that the General Authorization for Level B Harassment for Scientific Research applies to the proposed research as described herein. I certify that the information in this letter of intent is complete, true, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief, and I understand that any false statement may subject me to the criminal penalties of 18 U.S.C. 1001, or penalties under the MMPA and implementing regulations. I acknowledge and accept that authority to conduct scientific research on marine mammals in the wild under the General Authorization is a limited conditional authority restricted to Level B harassment only, and that any other take of marine mammals, including the conduct of any activity that has the potential to injure marine mammals (i.e., Level A harassment), may subject me to penalties under the MMPA and implementing regulations.

(c) Confirmation that the General Authorization applies or notification of permit requirement. (1) Not later than 30 days after receipt of a letter of intent as described in paragraph (b) of this section, the Chief, Permits Division, NMFS will issue a letter to the applicant either:

(i) Confirming that the General Authorization applies to the proposed scientific research as described in the letter of intent;

(ii) Notifying the applicant that all or part of the research described in the letter of intent is likely to result in a taking of a marine mammal in the wild involving other than Level B harassment and, as a result, cannot be conducted under the General Authorization, and that a scientific research permit is required to conduct all or part of the subject research; or

(iii) Notifying the applicant that the letter of intent fails to provide sufficient information and providing a description of the deficiencies, or notifying the applicant that the proposed research as described in the letter of intent is not bona fide research as defined in §216.3.

(2) A copy of each letter of intent and letter confirming that the General Authorization applies or notifying the applicant that it does not apply will be forwarded to the Marine Mammal Commission.

(3) Periodically, NMFS will publish a summary document in the Federal Register notifying the public of letters of confirmation issued.

(d) Terms and conditions. Persons issued letters of confirmation in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section are responsible for complying with the following terms and conditions:

(1) Activities are limited to those conducted for the purposes, by the means, in the locations, and during the periods of time described in the letter of intent and acknowledged as authorized under the General Authorization in the confirmation letter sent pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section;

(2) Annual reports of activities conducted under the General Authorization must be submitted to the Chief, Permits Division (address listed in paragraph (b) of this section) within 90 days of completion of the last field season(s) during the calendar year or, if the research is not conducted during a defined field season, no later than 90 days after the anniversary date of the letter of confirmation issued under paragraph (c) of this section. Annual reports must include:

(i) A summary of research activities conducted;

(ii) Identification of the species and number of each species taken by Level B harassment;

(iii) An evaluation of the progress made in meeting the objectives of the research as described in the letter of intent; and

(iv) Any incidental scientific, educational, or commercial uses of photographs, videotape, and film obtained as a result of or incidental to the research and if so, names of all photographers.

(3) Authorization to conduct research under the General Authorization is for the period(s) of time identified in the letter of intent or for a period of 5 years from the date of the letter of confirmation issued under paragraph (c) of this section, whichever is less, unless extended by the Director or modified, suspended, or revoked in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section;

(4) Activities conducted under the General Authorization may only be conducted under the on-site supervision of the principal investigator or co-investigator(s) named in the letter of intent. All personnel involved in the conduct of activities under the General Authorization must perform a function directly supportive of and necessary for the research being conducted, or be one of a reasonable number of support personnel included for the purpose of training or as back-up personnel;

(5) The principal investigator must notify the appropriate Regional Director, NMFS, (Regional Director) in writing at least 2 weeks before initiation of on-site activities. The Regional Director shall consider this information in efforts to coordinate field research activities to minimize adverse impacts on marine mammals in the wild. The principal investigator must cooperate with coordination efforts by the Regional Director in this regard;

(6) If research activities result in a taking which exceeds Level B harassment, the applicant shall:

(i) Report the taking within 12 hours to the Director, Office of Protected Resources, or his designee as set forth in the letter authorizing research; and

(ii) Temporarily discontinue for 72 hours all field research activities that resulted in the taking. During this time period, the applicant shall consult with NMFS as to the circumstances surrounding the taking and any precautions necessary to prevent future taking, and may agree to amend the research protocol, as deemed necessary by NMFS.

(7) NMFS may review scientific research conducted pursuant to the General Authorization. If requested by NMFS, the applicant must cooperate with any such review and shall:

(i) Allow any employee of NOAA or any other person designated by the Director, Office of Protected Resources to observe research activities; and

(ii) Provide any documents or other information relating to the scientific research;

(8) Any photographs, videotape, or film obtained during the conduct of research under the General Authorization must be identified by a statement that refers to the General Authorization or ESA permit number, and includes the file number provided by NMFS in the confirmation letter, the name of the photographer, and the date the image was taken. This statement must accompany the image(s) in all subsequent uses or sales. The annual report must note incidental scientific, educational, or commercial uses of the images, and if there are any such uses, the names of all photographers; and

(9) Persons conducting scientific research under authority of the General Authorization may not transfer or assign any authority granted thereunder to any other person.

(e) Suspension, revocation, or modification. (1) NMFS may suspend, revoke, or modify the authority to conduct scientific research under the General Authorization if:

(i) The letter of intent included false information or statements of a material nature;

(ii) The research does not constitute bona fide scientific research;

(iii) Research activities result in takings of marine mammals other than by Level B harassment;

(iv) Research activities differ from those described in the letter of intent submitted by the applicant and letter of confirmation issued by NMFS; or

(v) The applicant violates any term or condition set forth in this section.

(2) Any suspension, revocation, or modification is subject to the requirements of 15 CFR part 904.

[59 FR 50376, Oct. 3, 1994]

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