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e-CFR data is current as of July 9, 2020

Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 219Subpart E → §219.46

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
Subpart E—Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Northwest Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Research in the Pacific Ocean

§219.46   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

(a) NWFSC shall designate a compliance coordinator who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements of any LOA issued pursuant to §216.106 of this chapter and §219.47 and for preparing for any subsequent request(s) for incidental take authorization.

(b) Visual monitoring program:

(1) Marine mammal visual monitoring shall occur prior to deployment of trawl, seine, and hook and line gear, respectively; throughout deployment of gear and active fishing of research gears (not including longline soak time); prior to retrieval of longline gear; and throughout retrieval of all research gear;

(2) Marine mammal watches shall be conducted by watch-standers (those navigating the vessel and/or other crew) at all times when the vessel is being operated; and

(3) NWFSC shall conduct census counts of established pinniped haulouts in the Columbia River and Puget Sound that are disturbed by NWFSC research activity, and shall record disturbance of hauled-out pinnipeds due to NWFSC research activity, paying particular attention to the distance at which different species of pinniped are disturbed. Disturbance shall be recorded according to a three-point scale of response severity.

(c) Training:

(1) NWFSC must conduct annual training for all chief scientists and other personnel who may be responsible for conducting dedicated marine mammal visual observations to explain mitigation measures and monitoring and reporting requirements, mitigation and monitoring protocols, marine mammal identification, completion of datasheets, and use of equipment. NWFSC may determine the agenda for these trainings;

(2) NWFSC shall also dedicate a portion of training to discussion of best professional judgment, including use in any incidents of marine mammal interaction and instructive examples where use of best professional judgment was determined to be successful or unsuccessful; and

(3) NWFSC shall coordinate with NMFS's Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) regarding surveys conducted in the California Current Ecosystem, such that training and guidance related to handling procedures and data collection is consistent.

(d) Handling procedures and data collection:

(1) NWFSC must develop and implement standardized marine mammal handling, disentanglement, and data collection procedures. These standard procedures will be subject to approval by NMFS's Office of Protected Resources (OPR);

(2) When practicable, for any marine mammal interaction involving the release of a live animal, NWFSC shall collect necessary data to facilitate a serious injury determination;

(3) NWFSC shall provide its relevant personnel with standard guidance and training regarding handling of marine mammals, including how to identify different species, bring an individual aboard a vessel, assess the level of consciousness, remove fishing gear, return an individual to water, and log activities pertaining to the interaction; and

(4) NWFSC shall record such data on standardized forms, which will be subject to approval by OPR. NWFSC shall also answer a standard series of supplemental questions regarding the details of any marine mammal interaction.

(e) Reporting:

(1) NWFSC shall report all incidents of marine mammal interaction to NMFS's Protected Species Incidental Take database within 48 hours of occurrence and shall provide supplemental information to OPR upon request. Information related to marine mammal interaction (animal captured or entangled in research gear) must include details of survey effort, full descriptions of any observations of the animals, the context (vessel and conditions), decisions made, and rationale for decisions made in vessel and gear handling;

(2) Annual reporting:

(i) NWFSC shall submit an annual summary report to OPR not later than 90 days following the end of a given year. NWFSC shall provide a final report within thirty days following resolution of comments on the draft report:

(ii) These reports shall contain, at minimum, the following:

(A) Annual line-kilometers surveyed during which the EK60, ME70, SX90 (or equivalent sources) were predominant and associated pro-rated estimates of actual take;

(B) Summary information regarding use of all hook and line, seine, and trawl gear, including number of sets, hook hours, tows, etc., specific to each gear;

(C) Accounts of all incidents of marine mammal interactions, including circumstances of the event and descriptions of any mitigation procedures implemented or not implemented and why;

(D) Summary information related to disturbance of hauled-out pinnipeds, including event-specific total counts of animals present, counts of reactions according to the three-point scale, and distance of closest approach;

(E) A written evaluation of the effectiveness of NWFSC mitigation strategies in reducing the number of marine mammal interactions with survey gear, including best professional judgment and suggestions for changes to the mitigation strategies, if any;

(F) Final outcome of serious injury determinations for all incidents of marine mammal interactions where the animal(s) were released alive; and

(G) A summary of all relevant training provided by NWFSC and any coordination with SWFSC or NMFS's West Coast Regional Office.

(f) Reporting of injured or dead marine mammals:

(1) In the unanticipated event that the activity defined in §219.41(a) clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a prohibited manner, NWFSC personnel engaged in the research activity shall immediately cease such activity until such time as an appropriate decision regarding activity continuation can be made by the NWFSC Director (or designee). The incident must be reported immediately to OPR and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. OPR will review the circumstances of the prohibited take and work with NWFSC to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The immediate decision made by NWFSC regarding continuation of the specified activity is subject to OPR concurrence. The report must include the following information:

(i) Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

(ii) Description of the incident;

(iii) Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, visibility);

(iv) Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

(v) Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

(vi) Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

(vii) Water depth;

(viii) Fate of the animal(s); and

(ix) Photographs or video footage of the animal(s);

(2) In the event that NWFSC discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), NWFSC shall immediately report the incident to OPR and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report must include the information identified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. Activities may continue while OPR reviews the circumstances of the incident. OPR will work with NWFSC to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate;

(3) In the event that NWFSC discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities defined in §219.41(a) (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, scavenger damage), NWFSC shall report the incident to OPR and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. NWFSC shall provide photographs or video footage or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to OPR.

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