The permit authorizes capture and harassment of free-living Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in McMurdo Sound and along the shore of Ross Island, Antarctica to study thermoregulation. The research involves capture and restraint of adult females and pups/juveniles of either sex for attachment of scientific instruments, morphometric measurements, ultrasound, and tissue sampling. Harassment of additional seals in the vicinity of captured animals is also authorized, as is research-related mortality. Tissue samples collected may be exported from Antarctica for analysis in the U.S. The permit expires August 30, 2015.
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321et seq.), a final determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.
Dated: May 26, 2011.
P. Michael Payne,
Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.