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Endangered Species Act Section 7 Biological Opinion: Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act for certain Oil and Gas Exploration Activities in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska for 2010.
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    NOAA Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources, Conservation and Education Division (Permits Division), has formally consulted National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Region, on the potential effects of authorization of “small take” permits under section 101(a)(5) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended, for certain oil and gas exploration activities in the U. S. Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Seas for 2010. This opinion considers the effects of these actions on threatened and endangered species under the jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries. In formulating this Biological Opinion, NOAA Fisheries used information presented by the Permits, Conservation and Education Division (Permits Division); NMFS’ 2008 Biological Opinion for Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Alaska and Authorization of Small Takes Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act; Mineral Management Service’s 2008 Supplement to the 2006 Biological Evaluation of the Potential Effects of Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration in the Alaska OCS Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas on Endangered Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus), Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), and Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae); NMFS’s 2006 Draft Recovery Plan for Fin Whales, NMFS’s 1991 Recovery Plan for Humpback Whales; NMFS’s Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports; reports from the International Whaling Commission along with other research relating to bowhead whales and information provided by NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory, the North Slope Borough, and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission; and the traditional knowledge of the Alaskan Eskimo community.
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