Authorizations for the U.S. Navy’s current taking or harassment of marine mammals in the “Marinas Island Range Complex” will expire in August.
This as the final environmental impact statement for the Marianas Islands Training and Testing, or MITT, area was released over the weekend.
The MITT renews and expands training already established in impact documents for the “Marianas Island Range Complex.”
Incidental to Navy activity would be the harassment of thousands of marine mammals. The National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, would have to approve this.
Joint Region Marians public affairs officer Lt. Timothy Gorman told Saipan Tribune that the NMFS MMPA Final Rule and Letter of Authorizations will expire Aug. 3.
Gorman clarified that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion for these previous studies do not have expiration.
Meanwhile, with the recent release of the MITT, a “record of decision” signed by the Secretary of the Navy “can come any time after the 30-day period” following last Saturday’s release, according to Gorman.
An authorization of marine mammal taking is expected after this.
The MITT EIS covers, among others, sonar, deep-sea, “urban warfare,” and ordnance training on the islands of Guam, Rota, Saipan, Tinian, and Farallon de Medinilla.