Wednesday April 13, 2022

NOAA Fisheries

In late 2019, the National Science Foundation proposed to fund a high-energy seismic research survey in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. It would take place off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver Island in the summer of 2021. These surveys inform earthquake and tsunami hazards in the highly populated Pacific Northwest. The surveys deploy airguns, which create sound waves that transmit through the water. Any marine life in the area could be affected by the sound, including salmon and Southern resident killer whales, which are culturally important to many Pacific Northwest Tribes. 

Through an academic study, the National Science Foundation  proposed a marine geophysical survey to collect geological data from Cascadia Subduction Zone. To collect the survey data, the National Science Foundation Research Vessel Marcus G. Langserh would tow airguns that send out sound waves into the water. 

This action could impact Tribal commercial and subsistence harvested fish. So, the National Science Foundation and NOAA Fisheries scientists collaborated with affected Tribal governments to find a resolution as part of the Endangered Species Act consultation process. Through diligent efforts by all parties involved, we established a notification process between the Tribes and the seismic survey operators. 

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