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Shell Alaska News and Events
Shell Receives Final Incidental Harassment Authorizations
On May 2, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) awarded Shell final Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHA’s) for its planned 2012 exploration programs in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. IHA’s are specific to seals and whales and serve as authorization to work in proximity to these species so long as any associated impact is negligible. The authorizations require that Shell have a plan in place to mitigate any potential impact.
“The delivery of IHA’s from NMFS is welcome news and one of the last approvals we need before exploring our Alaska leases in 2012. Shell has executed responsible offshore programs in Alaska for several years with no known negative impacts to the environment, marine mammals or local communities. We look forward to continued success on that front and to working with regulators to secure the remaining permits needed to work in the Alaska offshore,” said Pete Slaiby, VP Alaska.
Shell’s operations are conducted in a manner that mitigates impacts on marine mammals, as regulated by the federal government. That includes placing Alaska Native Marine Mammals Observers (MMO’s) on the drilling rigs and support vessels; marine mammal overflights in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas and the continuation of an acoustic recorder program that allows us to monitor the movements and behaviors of marine mammals.
“Clearly, the goal is to avoid any and all contact with marine mammals. If, at any time, our operations come into contact with or alter the behavior of a marine mammal, it is recorded as an incidental “take” of that marine mammal,” Slaiby explained.