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

Title 50Chapter IISubchapter CPart 219Subpart F → §219.56

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
Subpart F—Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Alaska Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Research

§219.56   Requirements for monitoring and reporting.

(a) Compliance coordinator. AFSC 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 219.57 and for preparing for any subsequent request(s) for incidental take authorization. AFSC shall convey this requirement to IPHC.

(b) Visual monitoring program. (1) Marine mammal visual monitoring shall occur prior to deployment of trawl, longline, and gillnet 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. AFSC shall convey this requirement to IPHC; and

(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. AFSC shall convey this requirement to IPHC.

(c) Training. (1) AFSC 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. AFSC may determine the agenda for these trainings;

(2) AFSC 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) AFSC shall convey these training requirements to IPHC.

(d) Handling procedures and data collection. (1) AFSC 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). AFSC shall convey these procedures to IPHC;

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

(3) AFSC 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. AFSC shall convey this requirement to IPHC; and

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

(e) Reporting. (1) AFSC shall report all incidents of marine mammal interaction to NMFS's Protected Species Incidental Take database, including those resulting from IPHC activities, 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) AFSC must submit annual reports.

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

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

(A) Annual line-kilometers surveyed during which the EK60, ME70, ES60, 7111 (or equivalent sources) were predominant and associated pro-rated estimates of actual take;

(B) Summary information regarding use of all longline, gillnet, and trawl gear, including number of sets, tows, etc., specific to each gear;

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

(D) A written evaluation of the effectiveness of AFSC 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;

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

(F) A summary of all relevant training provided by AFSC and any coordination with NMFS' Alaska Regional Office.

(3) AFSC shall convey these reporting requirements to IPHC and shall provide IPHC reports to OPR subject to the same schedule.

(f) Reporting of injured or dead marine mammals. (1) In the unanticipated event that the activity defined in §219.51(a) clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a prohibited manner, AFSC 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 AFSC Director (or designee). The incident must be reported immediately to OPR and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. OPR will review the circumstances of the prohibited take and work with AFSC to determine what measures are necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. The immediate decision made by AFSC 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 AFSC 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), AFSC shall immediately report the incident to OPR and the Alaska 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 AFSC to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate.

(3) In the event that AFSC 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 §219.51(a) (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, scavenger damage), AFSC shall report the incident to OPR and the Alaska Regional Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. AFSC shall provide photographs or video footage or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to OPR.

(4) AFSC shall convey these requirements to IPHC.

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