The permit holder is authorized over a five-year period to collect from the wild up to two bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska for a long-term behavioral study at Long Marine Laboratory in Santa Cruz, CA. Up to four bearded seals may be captured and temporarily held in order to evaluate their suitability for participation in research. Captured seals deemed unsuitable for the long-term study will be released at the capture site. Incidental harassment of up to one ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and one spotted seal (Phoca larga), and mortality of two bearded seals is authorized for the duration of the permit. After a quarantine period, the seals will be transferred to NMFS Permit No. 14535-01 (75 FR 58352) for research on the amphibious hearing capabilities of bearded seals to improve the understanding of the potential effects of expected increases in anthropogenic activities in polar habitats.
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: August 28, 2012.
P. Michael Payne,
Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.