US Navy admits sonar killed whales. (International Marine Mammal Project).In March 2000, 14 rare beaked whales, two minke whales and a dolphin became stranded within a 25-hour period on the beaches of the Bahamas. While the dolphin and six of the whales died, ten of the whales were successfully returned to the sea.
The odd event coincided with the passage of a five-vessel Navy fleet that was conducting tests with a midrange-frequency sonar. The US Navy sonar system tows an underwater speaker array that sends loud noises through the sea in an attempt to pick up echoes that bounce off enemy submarines.
The National Marine Fisheries Service The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is a United States federal agency. A division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce, NMFS is responsible for the stewardship and management of the nation's living marine (NMFS NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service
NMFS National Mortality Followback Survey
NMFS Network Multimedia File System
NMFS Nested Mount File System ) and the Navy launched a joint investigation of the stranding incident but the Navy stoutly denied that their sonar blasts were implicated im·pli·cate
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.
2. in the strandings and deaths. Subsequent observations failed to spot any of the survivors or any other beaked whales that normally inhabit the area.
Despite more than a year and a half of government studies, none of the data or conclusions had been released to the public. Meanwhile, the Navy and NMFS have requested permission to deploy a new and even more powerful sonar.
The Navy's proposed Low Frequency Active (LFA LFA left frontoanterior (position of the fetus).
leukocyte functional antigen. ) sonar will produce one of the loudest undersea noises ever created by humans. The US Navy claims that the LFA sonar will have no adverse effects on whales or other marine life.
On December 18, 2001, Earth Island Institute The Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by environmentalist David Brower. It organizes and encourages activism around environmental issues and provides public education. Funding comes from individual members and supporting organizations. (EII (Enterprise Information Integration) Similar to an EIS (executive information system), an EII aggregates current information from all data sources within an organization. ) sent a Freedom of Information Act letter to NMFS requesting all documents related to the stranding investigations. On December 20, NMFS and the US Navy broke its silence and issued an interim report to the public. This report all but admitted that the Bahamas strandings were caused by the Navy's sonar.
In carefully worded bureaucratic prose, the investigators declared: "While the precise causal mechanisms of tissue damage [in the dead marine mammals] are unknown, available evidence points to acoustic or impulse trauma." The report concluded: "The unusual extended use of Navy midrange tactical sonars operating in the area is the most plausible acoustic source."
Of the four beached whale specimens collected for study, three showed severe tissue damage and bleeding in the inner ear. The fourth showed bleeding around the brain.
EII and other environmental groups are preparing to challenge the Navy's plan to deploy the new LFA sonar later this year.
What YOU CAN DO For more reformation about what you can do to oppose the deployment of LFAS LFAS Low-Frequency Active Sonar (Navy) , contact IMMP IMMP Information Management Master Plan
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