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Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XS95

Marine Mammals; Photography Permit Application No. 15128

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice; receipt of application.
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that Robert Pilley, Leighside, Bridge Road, Leighwoods, Bristol, BS8 3PB, United Kingdom, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct commercial/educational photography of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).
DATES: Written, telefaxed, or e-mail comments must be received on or before December 18, 2009.
ADDRESSES: Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713-2289; fax (301)713-0376; and

Southeast Region, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701; phone (727)824-5312; fax (727)824-5309.

Written comments or requests for a public hearing on this application

should be mailed to the Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, F/PR1, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Those individuals requesting a hearing should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this particular request would be appropriate.

Comments may also be submitted by facsimile at (301)713-0376, provided the facsimile is confirmed by hard copy submitted by mail and postmarked no later than the closing date of the comment period.

Comments may also be submitted by e-mail. The mailbox address for providing e-mail comments isNMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail comment the following document identifier: File No. 15128.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Hapeman or Carrie Hubard, (301)713-2289.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The subject permit is requested under the authority of section 104(c)(6) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216). Section 104(c)(6) provides for photography for educational or commercial purposes involving non-endangered and non-threatened marine mammals in the wild.

Mr. Pilley requests a two-year photography permit to film bottlenose dolphin strand feeding events in the estuaries and creeks of Bull Creek and around Hilton Head, South Carolina. Filmmakers plan to use four filming platforms: a static remotely operated camera placed on the mudflats, a radio-controlled camera helicopter, a radio-controlled camera glider, and a radio-controlled camera boat. Up to 128 dolphins annually may be approached and filmed. Filming will occur over 14 days and be completed by November 2010. Footage will be used to create a 6-part television series,Earthflight, for the British Broadcasting Corporation and Discovery Channel. The premise of the series is to follow migratory bird species around the world, with a bird's-eye perspective.

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

Concurrent with the publication of this notice in theFederal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of this application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

Dated: November 13, 2009. P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.