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Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 218Subpart J → §218.94


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 218—REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TAKING AND IMPORTING OF MARINE MAMMALS
Subpart J—Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy's Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT)


§218.94   Mitigation.

(a) When conducting training and testing activities, as identified in §218.90, the mitigation measures contained in the LOA issued under §§216.106 and 218.97 of this chapter must be implemented. These mitigation measures include, but are not limited to:

(1) Lookouts. The following are protective measures concerning the use of lookouts.

(i) Lookouts positioned on surface ships will be dedicated solely to diligent observation of the air and surface of the water. Their observation objectives will include, but are not limited to, detecting the presence of biological resources and recreational or fishing boats, observing mitigation zones, and monitoring for vessel and personnel safety concerns.

(ii) Lookouts positioned in aircraft or on boats will, to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with aircraft and boat safety and training and testing requirements, comply with the observation objectives described in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section.

(iii) Lookout measures for non-impulse sound:

(A) With the exception of vessels less than 65 ft (20 m) in length and ships that are minimally manned, ships using low-frequency or hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar sources associated with anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare activities at sea will have two lookouts at the forward position. For the purposes of this rule, low-frequency active sonar does not include surface towed array surveillance system low-frequency active sonar.

(B) While using low-frequency or hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar sources associated with anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare activities at sea, ships less than 65 ft (20 m) in length and ships that are minimally manned will have one lookout at the forward position of the vessel due to space and manning restrictions.

(C) Ships conducting active sonar activities while moored or at anchor (including pierside testing or maintenance) will maintain one lookout.

(D) Surface ships or aircraft conducting high-frequency or non-hull mounted mid-frequency active sonar activities associated with anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare activities at sea will have one lookout.

(iv) Lookout measures for explosives and impulse sound:

(A) Aircraft conducting IEER sonobuoy activities and explosive sonobuoy exercises will have one lookout.

(B) Surface vessels conducting anti-swimmer grenade activities will have one lookout.

(C) During general mine countermeasure and neutralization activities using up to a 20-lb net explosive weight detonation (bin E6 and below), vessels greater than 200 ft (61 m) will have two lookouts, while vessels less than 200 ft (61 m) or aircraft will have one lookout.

(D) Mine neutralization activities involving positive control diver-placed charges using up to a 20-lb net explosive weight detonation will have two lookouts. The divers placing the charges on mines will report all marine mammal sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety Officer.

(E) When mine neutralization activities using diver-placed charges with up to a 20-lb net explosive weight detonation are conducted with a time-delay firing device, four lookouts will be used. Two lookouts will be positioned in each of two small rigid hull inflatable boats. When aircraft are used, the pilot or member of the aircrew will serve as an additional lookout. The divers placing the charges on mines will report all marine mammal sightings to their supporting small boat or Range Safety Officer.

(F) Surface vessels or aircraft conducting small- or medium-caliber gunnery exercises against a surface target will have one lookout.

(G) Aircraft conducting missile exercises (including rockets) against surface targets will have one lookout.

(H) Aircraft conducting bombing exercises will have one lookout.

(I) During explosive torpedo testing, one lookout will be used and positioned in an aircraft.

(J) During sinking exercises, two lookouts will be used. One lookout will be positioned in an aircraft and one on a surface vessel.

(K) Surface vessels conducting explosive and non-explosive large-caliber gunnery exercises will have one lookout.

(v) Lookout measures for physical strike and disturbance:

(A) While underway, surface ships will have at least one lookout.

(B) During activities using towed in-water devices, that are towed from a manned platform, one lookout will be used.

(C) Non-explosive small-, medium-, and large-caliber gunnery exercises using a surface target will have one lookout.

(D) Non-explosive bombing exercises will have one lookout.

(2) Mitigation zones. The following are protective measures concerning the implementation of mitigation zones.

(i) Mitigation zones will be measured as the radius from a source and represent a distance to be monitored.

(ii) Visual detections of marine mammals within a mitigation zone will be communicated immediately to a watch station for information dissemination and appropriate action.

(iii) Mitigation zones for non-impulse sound:

(A) When marine mammals are visually detected, the Navy shall ensure that low-frequency and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar transmission levels are limited to at least 6 dB below normal operating levels (for sources that can be powered down during the activity) if any visually detected marine mammals are within 1,000 yd (914 m) of the source (i.e., the bow).

(B) The Navy shall ensure that low-frequency and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar transmissions are limited to at least 10 dB below the equipment's normal operating level (for sources that can be powered down during the activity) if any detected marine mammals are sighted within 500 yd (457 m) of the source.

(C) The Navy shall ensure that low-frequency and hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar transmissions (for sources that can be turned off during the activity) are ceased if any visually detected marine mammals are within 200 yd (183 m) of the sonar dome. Active transmission will recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes; the ship has transited more than 2,000 yd. (1.8 kilometers [km]) beyond the location of the last sighting; or the ship concludes that dolphins are deliberately closing in on the ship to ride the ship's bow wave (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the mitigation zone).

(D) If the source is not able to be powered down during the activity (e.g., low-frequency sources within bins LF4 and LF5), mitigation will involve ceasing active transmission if a marine mammal is sighted within 200 yd. (183 m). Active transmission will recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone; the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source; the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes; or the ship has transited more than 400 yd. (366 m) beyond the location of the last sighting.

(E) With the exception of activities involving platforms operating at high altitudes, when marine mammals are visually detected, the Navy shall ensure that high-frequency and non-hull-mounted mid-frequency active sonar transmission (for sources that can be turned off during the activity) is ceased if any visually detected marine mammals are within 200 yd (183 m) of the source. Active transmission will recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes for an aircraft-deployed source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes for a vessel-deployed source, the vessel or aircraft has repositioned itself more than 400 yd. (366 m) away from the location of the last sighting, or the vessel concludes that dolphins are deliberately closing in to ride the vessel's bow wave (and there are no other marine mammal sightings within the mitigation zone).

(F) Prior to start up or restart of active sonar, operators shall check that the mitigation zone radius around the sound source is clear of marine mammals.

(G) Generally, the Navy shall operate sonar at the lowest practicable level, not to exceed 235 dB, except as required to meet tactical training objectives.

(iv) Mitigation zones for explosive and impulse sound:

(A)(1) A mitigation zone with a radius of 600 yd (549 m) shall be established for IEER sonobuoys (bin E4). Mitigation would include pre-exercise aerial observation and passive acoustic monitoring, which would begin 30 minutes before the first source/receiver pair detonation and continue throughout the duration of the exercise. The pre-exercise aerial observation would include the time it takes to deploy the sonobuoy pattern (deployment is conducted by aircraft dropping sonobuoys in the water). Explosive detonations would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Detonations would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes.

(2) Passive acoustic monitoring would be conducted with Navy assets, such as sonobuoys, already participating in the activity. These assets would only detect vocalizing marine mammals within the frequency bands monitored by Navy personnel. Passive acoustic detections would not provide range or bearing to detected animals, and therefore cannot provide locations of these animals. Passive acoustic detections would be reported to lookouts posted in aircraft and on vessels in order to increase vigilance of their visual observation.

(B)(1) A mitigation zone with a radius of 350 yd (320 m) shall be established for explosive sonobuoys using 0.5-2.5 lb net explosive weight (bin E3). Mitigation would include pre-exercise aerial monitoring during deployment of the field of sonobuoy pairs (typically up to 20 minutes) and continuing throughout the duration of the exercise within a mitigation zone of 350 yd (320 m) around an explosive sonobuoy. Explosive detonations would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Detonations would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes.

(2) Passive acoustic monitoring would also be conducted with Navy assets, such as sonobuoys, already participating in the activity. These assets would only detect vocalizing marine mammals within the frequency bands monitored by Navy personnel. Passive acoustic detections would not provide range or bearing to detected animals, and therefore cannot provide locations of these animals. Passive acoustic detections would be reported to lookouts posted in aircraft in order to increase vigilance of their visual observation.

(C) A mitigation zone with a radius of 200 yd (183 m) shall be established for anti-swimmer grenades (bin E2). Mitigation would include visual observation from a small boat immediately before and during the exercise within a mitigation zone of 200 yd (183 m) around an anti-swimmer grenade. Explosive detonations would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Detonations would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes, or the activity has been repositioned more than 400 yd (366 m) away from the location of the last sighting.

(D) A mitigation zone ranging from 350 yd (320 m) to 800 yd (732 m), dependent on charge size and if the activity involves the use of diver-placed charges, shall be established for mine countermeasure and neutralization activities using positive control firing devices. Mitigation zone distances are specified for charge size in the following table.

Charge size net
explosive weight
(bins)
General mine countermeasure and neutralization activities using positive control firing devices1Mine countermeasure and neutralization activities using diver placed charges under positive control2
Predicted
average range to TTS
Predicted
average range to PTS
Predicted maximum range to PTSRecommended
mitigation zone
Predicted
average range to TTS
Predicted
average range to PTS
Predicted maximum range to PTSRecommended
mitigation zone
2.5-5 lb. (1.2-2.3 kg) (E4)434 yd
(474 m)
197 yd
(180 m)
563 yd
(515 m)
600 yd
(549 m)
545 yd
(498 m)
169 yd
(155 m)
301 yd
(275 m)
350 yd.
(320 m).
5-10 lb. (2.7-4.5 kg) (E5)525 yd
(480 m)
204 yd
(187 m)
649 yd
(593 m)
800 yd
(732 m)
587 yd
(537 m)
203 yd
(185 m)
464 yd
(424 m)
500 yd.
(457 m).
>10-20 lb. (5-9.1 kg) (E6)766 yd
(700 m)
288 yd
(263 m)
648 yd
(593 m)
800 yd
(732 m)
647 yd
(592 m)
232 yd
(212 m)
469 yd
(429 m)
500 yd.
(457 m).

PTS: permanent threshold shift; TTS: temporary threshold shift.

1These mitigation zones are applicable to all mine countermeasure and neutralization activities conducted in all locations specified in Chapter 2 of the Navy's LOA application.

2These mitigation zones are only applicable to mine countermeasure and neutralization activities involving the use of diver placed charges. These activities are conducted in shallow-water and the mitigation zones are based only on the functional hearing groups with species that occur in these areas (mid-frequency cetaceans and sea turtles).

(1) During general mine countermeasure and neutralization activities, mitigation would include visual observation from one or more small boats or aircraft beginning 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after (when helicopters are not involved in the activity) or 10 minutes before, during, and 10 minutes after (when helicopters are involved in the activity) the completion of the exercise within the mitigation zones around the detonation site.

(2) For activities involving diver-placed charges, visual observation would be conducted by either two small boats, or one small boat in combination with one helicopter. Boats would position themselves near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but always outside the detonation plume radius and human safety zone) and travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location. When using two boats, each boat would be positioned on opposite sides of the detonation location, separated by 180 degrees. If used, helicopters would travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location.

(3) For both general and diver-placed positive control mine countermeasure and neutralization activities, explosive detonations will cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Detonations will recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on a determination of its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes, when helicopters are not involved in the activity or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes when helicopters are involved in the activity.

(E) A mitigation zone with a radius of 1,000 yd (914 m) shall be established for mine countermeasure and neutralization activities using diver-placed time-delay firing devices (bin E6). Mine neutralization activities involving diver-placed charges would not include time-delay longer than 10 minutes. Mitigation would include visual observation from small boats or aircraft commencing 30 minutes before, during, and until 30 minutes after the completion of the exercise within a mitigation zone of 1,000 yd (914 m) around the detonation site. During activities using time-delay firing devices involving up to a 20 lb net explosive weight charge, visual observation will take place using two small boats. Fuse initiation would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes.

(1) Survey boats would position themselves near the mid-point of the mitigation zone radius (but always outside the detonation plume radius/human safety zone) and travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location. One lookout from each boat would look inward toward the detonation site and the other lookout would look outward away from the detonation site. When using two small boats, each boat would be positioned on opposite sides of the detonation location, separated by 180 degrees. If available for use, helicopters would travel in a circular pattern around the detonation location.

(2) [Reserved]

(F) A mitigation zone with a radius of 200 yd (183 m) shall be established for small- and medium-caliber gunnery exercises with a surface target (bin E2). Mitigation would include visual observation from a vessel or aircraft immediately before and during the exercise within a mitigation zone of 200 yd (183 m) around the intended impact location. Vessels would observe the mitigation zone from the firing position. When aircraft are firing, the aircrew would maintain visual watch of the mitigation zone during the activity. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes for a firing aircraft, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes for a firing vessel, or the intended target location has been repositioned more than 400 yd (366 m) away from the location of the last sighting.

(G) A mitigation zone with a radius of 600 yd (549 m) shall be established for large-caliber gunnery exercises with a surface target (bin E5). Mitigation would include visual observation from a ship immediately before and during the exercise within a mitigation zone of 600 yd (549 m) around the intended impact location. Ships would observe the mitigation zone from the firing position. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes.

(H) A mitigation zone with a radius of 900 yd (823 m) around the deployed target shall be established for missile exercises involving aircraft firing up to 250 lb net explosive weight using and a surface target (bin E9). When aircraft are firing, mitigation would include visual observation by the aircrew or supporting aircraft prior to commencement of the activity within a mitigation zone of 900 yd (823 m) around the deployed target. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes or 30 minutes (depending on aircraft type).

(I) A mitigation zone with a radius of 2,000 yd (1.8 km) shall be established for missile exercises involving aircraft firing >250 to 500 lb net explosive weight using and a surface target (bin E10). When aircraft are firing, mitigation would include visual observation by the aircrew prior to commencement of the activity within a mitigation zone of 2,000 yd (1.8 km) around the intended impact location. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes or 30 minutes (depending on aircraft type).

(J) A mitigation zone with a radius of 2,500 yd (2.3 km) shall be established for bombing exercises (bin E12). Mitigation would include visual observation from the aircraft immediately before the exercise and during target approach within a mitigation zone of 2,500 yd (2.3 km) around the intended impact location. Bombing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Bombing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes.

(K)(1) A mitigation zone with a radius of 2,100 yd (1.9 km) shall be established for torpedo (explosive) testing (except for aircraft operating at high altitudes) (bin E11). Mitigation would include visual observation by aircraft immediately before, during, and after the exercise within a mitigation zone of 2,100 yd (1.9 km) around the intended impact location. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes or 30 minutes (depending on aircraft type).

(2) In addition to visual observation, passive acoustic monitoring would be conducted with Navy assets, such as passive ships sonar systems or sonobuoys, already participating in the activity. Passive acoustic observation would be accomplished through the use of remote acoustic sensors or expendable sonobuoys, or via passive acoustic sensors on submarines when they participate in the proposed action. These assets would only detect vocalizing marine mammals within the frequency bands monitored by Navy personnel. Passive acoustic detections would not provide range or bearing to detected animals, and therefore cannot provide locations of these animals. Passive acoustic detections would be reported to the lookout posted in the aircraft in order to increase vigilance of the visual observation and to the person in control of the activity for their consideration in determining when the mitigation zone is free of visible marine mammals.

(L) A mitigation zone with a radius of 2.5 nautical miles around the target ship hulk shall be established for sinking exercises (bin E12). Mitigation would include aerial observation beginning 90 minutes before the first firing, visual observations from vessels throughout the duration of the exercise, and both aerial and vessel observation immediately after any planned or unplanned breaks in weapons firing of longer than 2 hours. Prior to conducting the exercise, the Navy would review remotely sensed sea surface temperature and sea surface height maps to aid in deciding where to release the target ship hulk.

(1) The Navy would also monitor using passive acoustics during the exercise. Passive acoustic monitoring would be conducted with Navy assets, such as passive ships sonar systems or sonobuoys, already participating in the activity. These assets would only detect vocalizing marine mammals within the frequency bands monitored by Navy personnel. Passive acoustic detections would not provide range or bearing to detected animals, and therefore cannot provide locations of these animals. Passive acoustic detections would be reported to lookouts posted in aircraft and on vessels in order to increase vigilance of their visual observation. Lookouts will also increase observation vigilance before the use of torpedoes or unguided ordnance with a net explosive weight of 500 lb or greater, or if the Beaufort sea state is a 4 or above.

(2) The exercise would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. The exercise would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes. Upon sinking the vessel, the Navy would conduct post-exercise visual observation of the mitigation zone for 2 hours (or until sunset, whichever comes first).

(M) A mitigation zone with a radius of 70 yd (64 m) within 30 degrees on either side of the gun target line on the firing side of the vessel for explosive and non-explosive large-caliber gunnery exercises conducted from a ship. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is sighted within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions is met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes, or the vessel has repositioned itself more than 140 yd (128 m) away from the location of the last sighting.

(v) Mitigation zones for vessels and in-water devices:

(A) A mitigation zone of 500 yd (457 m) for observed whales and 200 yd (183 m) for all other marine mammals (except bow riding dolphins) shall be established for all vessel movement, providing it is safe to do so.

(B) A mitigation zone of 250 yd (229 m) shall be established for all towed in-water devices that are towed from a manned platform, providing it is safe to do so.

(vi) Mitigation zones for non-explosive practice munitions:

(A) A mitigation zone of 200 yd (183 m) shall be established for non-explosive small-, medium-, and large-caliber gunnery exercises using a surface target. Mitigation would include visual observation immediately before and during the exercise within a mitigation zone of 200 m around the intended impact location. Firing would cease if a marine mammal is visually detected within the mitigation zone. Firing would recommence if any one of the following conditions are met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes for a firing aircraft, the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 30 minutes for a firing vessel, or the intended target location has been repositioned more than 400 yd (366 m) away from the location of the last sighting and the animal's estimated course direction.

(B) A mitigation zone of 1,000 yd (914 m) shall be established for non-explosive bombing exercises. Mitigation would include visual observation from the aircraft immediately before the exercise and during target approach within a mitigation zone of 1000 yd (914 m) around the intended impact location. Bombing would cease if a marine mammal is visually detected within the mitigation zone. Bombing would recommence if any one of the following conditions are met: The animal is observed exiting the mitigation zone, the animal is thought to have exited the mitigation zone based on its course and speed and the relative motion between the animal and the source, or the mitigation zone has been clear from any additional sightings for a period of 10 minutes.

(3) Stranding Response Plan:

(i) The Navy shall abide by the letter of the “Stranding Response Plan for Major Navy Training Exercises in the MITT Study Area,” to include the following measures:

(A) Shutdown Procedures—When an Uncommon Stranding Event (USE—defined in §218.91) occurs during a Major Training Exercise (MTE) in the MITT Study Area, the Navy shall implement the procedures described below.

(1) The Navy shall implement a shutdown (as defined §218.91) when advised by a NMFS Office of Protected Resources Headquarters Senior Official designated in the MITT Study Area Stranding Communication Protocol that a USE involving live animals has been identified and that at least one live animal is located in the water. NMFS and the Navy will maintain a dialogue, as needed, regarding the identification of the USE and the potential need to implement shutdown procedures.

(2) Any shutdown in a given area shall remain in effect in that area until NMFS advises the Navy that the subject(s) of the USE at that area die or are euthanized, or that all live animals involved in the USE at that area have left the area (either of their own volition or herded).

(3) If the Navy finds an injured or dead animal floating at sea during an MTE, the Navy shall notify NMFS immediately or as soon as operational security considerations allow. The Navy shall provide NMFS with species or description of the animal(s), the condition of the animal(s), including carcass condition if the animal(s) is/are dead, location, time of first discovery, observed behavior (if alive), and photo or video (if available). Based on the information provided, NFMS will determine if, and advise the Navy whether a modified shutdown is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

(4) In the event, following a USE, that qualified individuals are attempting to herd animals back out to the open ocean and animals are not willing to leave, or animals are seen repeatedly heading for the open ocean but turning back to shore, NMFS and the Navy shall coordinate (including an investigation of other potential anthropogenic stressors in the area) to determine if the proximity of mid-frequency active sonar training activities or explosive detonations, though farther than 14 nautical miles from the distressed animal(s), is likely contributing to the animals' refusal to return to the open water. If so, NMFS and the Navy will further coordinate to determine what measures are necessary to improve the probability that the animals will return to open water and implement those measures as appropriate.

(5) Within 72 hours of NMFS notifying the Navy of the presence of a USE, the Navy shall provide available information to NMFS (per the MITT Study Area Communication Protocol) regarding the location, number and types of acoustic/explosive sources, direction and speed of units using mid-frequency active sonar, and marine mammal sightings information associated with training activities occurring within 80 nautical miles (148 km) and 72 hours prior to the USE event. Information not initially available regarding the 80-nautical miles (148-km), 72-hour period prior to the event will be provided as soon as it becomes available. The Navy will provide NMFS investigative teams with additional relevant unclassified information as requested, if available.

(b) [Reserved]

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