Protective Measures

 Seismic Vessel Acquiring

Protection of marine mammals is a high priority for BOEM and our federal partners. Federal law allows specific surveys to be permitted only if experts determine that there is negligible impact and no adverse effects on recruitment or survival of marine mammal species or stocks. Therefore no permits will be issued unless government experts with BOEM and NOAA find that there is negligible impact. The purpose of the PEIS and the Record of Decision is to adopt mitigation strategies that offer the strongest environmental alternatives to protect marine animal populations

Mitigation measures in the PEIS, and required in BOEM’s decision document issued in July 2014, include vessel strike avoidance measures, special closure areas to protect the main migratory route for the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, consideration of geographic separation of simultaneous seismic airgun surveys, and Passive Acoustic Monitoring to supplement visual observers and improve detection of marine mammals prior to and during seismic surveys.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Ramping-up airguns.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM).

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Limits on the peak and cumulative sound pressure levels or sound intensity levels that acoustic devices may produce.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Exclusion zones around vessels conducting acoustic surveys whose dimensions are established to avoid harm to animals from sound.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Time and area closures for conduct of acoustic surveys to avoid injury to animals from sound when breeding, migrating, or otherwise congregating.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Visual, acoustic, or other monitoring for the presence of animals in order to avoid harm.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Requirements for starting up and shutting down use of acoustic devices and for geographic separation of simultaneous surveys whose impacts may be cumulative.

ScienceHighlightsExpandButton Requirements to prevent vessels from striking animals.