| Final environmental assessment for issuance of permit no. 17324 for importation of beluga whales for public display purposes - :4726 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
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Final environmental assessment for issuance of permit no. 17324 for importation of beluga whales for public display purposes
  • Published Date:
Filetype[PDF-2.22 MB]

  • Personal Authors:
  • Corporate Authors:
    United States, National Marine Fisheries Service., Office of Protected Resources. ; United States, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration., Office of Program Planning and Integration, ;
  • Description:
    The proposed action is issuance of a permit under Section 104 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), to import 18 beluga whales captured in Russia for placement in public display facilities. An application for a permit was submitted by Georgia Aquarium Inc. (the Aquarium), 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313. The whales would be held at the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA and distributed pursuant to breeding loan agreements among four other U.S. public display facilities: Shedd Aquarium, Sea World of Florida, Sea World of Texas, and Sea World of California. The Aquarium's objective in requesting the import is to enhance the North American breeding population of beluga whales in captivity by increasing the population base of captive beluga whales to a self-sustaining level. Their objective in the public display of captive whales is to promote conservation of and education about marine mammals in general, and this species in particular. The EA evaluates impacts of a single action alternative - permit issuance - on the human environment, and considers whether issuance would comply with applicable laws, including the issuance criteria under the MMPA and NMFS' implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216. The EA also evaluates impacts of permit denial, under the No Action alternative. Permit issuance and denial require NMFS to make findings under the MMPA and our regulations. Our analysis shows that permit issuance would not comply with MMPA criteria, and may result in significant adverse impacts on marine mammals. NMFS' preferred alternative is No Action (Permit Denial). Implementing the No Action alternative is not likely to result in significant impacts on the human environment.

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