Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sweet! judge silences navy sonar

from the BBC

The US Navy has been ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar equipment during training exercises off the coast of California until the end of 2009.


In a statement, the navy said it already took steps to minimise risks to marine mammals.

It added that it had monitored the waters off southern California for 40 years, and had not seen any whale injuries resulting from the use of sonar equipment.

This is utter bunk. There is no doubt the sonar kills whales. This is from a Mother Jones story from last year:

The pilot whales began coming ashore last January, on North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, not far from Whalebone Junction, where fishermen make the turn toward the marina at Oregon Inlet. Short-finned with distinctly rounded heads and long, stocky dark bodies, some were almost 20 feet long, weighing up to three tons. By the time they were discovered in the surf near a lonely five-mile stretch of beach, 15 pilot whales—6 of them pregnant—were dead. Seven more had to be euthanized by veterinarians. During the next two days, a newborn minke whale and two dwarf sperm whales also died in one of the largest beaching events ever documented along this coastline.

Scientists arrived to gather tissue; after the necropsies, the whales were buried on the beach. “It’s curious to have three different kinds of whales strand, and a number of possible causes are being examined. Sonar is certainly one of them,” said Connie Barclay, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

On the day the strandings began, several Navy ships conducted submarine-hunting exercises off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, using loudspeakers to send mid-frequency sonar sound waves across ten or even a hundred miles of ocean. Sonar devices can locate an enemy’s sophisticated, almost-silent diesel submarines by, ironically, making a deafening noise—sometimes above 230 decibels, as loud as a Saturn V rocket blasting off. (Underwater noise of only 120 decibels—a level billions of times less intense—has been known to disrupt whale behavior.)

1 comment:

mlantz said...

Thanks for checking out my blog and adding it to your roll. I like your blog - I added it to my typelist.

This is probably par for the military. The Conservatives have done the same for the whole government - you can't believe anything they say, and I think it's all part of their plan. As Brad DeLong would say "Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now."