Acoustic Naval Experiment Promises Deadly Consequences for Whales Dolphins of the Western North Pacific Ocean


By Kirsten Massebeau

Proposed locations of the sonar experiment http://1.usa.gov/15ZUgLl

Proposed locations of the U.S. Naval acoustic experiment (source)

The Office of the Naval Research (ONR) is proposing an acoustic technology experiment (ATE) during spring, summer 2013 in the Western North Pacific:

The nine provinces are discrete areas identified with the following 5 geographic titles as presented in the analysis results herein: Sea of Japan, East China Sea, South China
6 Sea, North Philippine Sea, West Philippine Sea, East of Japan, Offshore Guam, Northwest Pacific 7 Ocean: 25º to 40º North latitude, and Northwest Pacific Ocean: 10º to 25º North latitude.. No more than 8 four underwater acoustic sources will be employed during the experiments, with none of the ONR ATE 9 sources transmitting concurrently, and with all sources operating below 1.5 kilohertz (kHz) and a sound 10 pressure level (SPL) less than 220 decibels (dB) for a total of no more than 69 hours of acoustic
11 transmissions over six days (Source)

All active sources will transmit below 1.5 kHz and a SPL less  15 than 220 dB for a total duration of no more than 69 hours (hr) over six at-sea days (source)

All active sources will transmit below 1.5 kHz and a SPL less
15 than 220 dB for a total duration of no more than 69 hours (hr) over six at-sea days (source)

If the permit to perform this ATE sea life,whales and dolphins living in an already challenging Western North Pacific Ocean riddled with long line fishing, trawlers, hunting, shipping strikes and shipping noise will be exposed to 220 dB for extended periods of time as seen in the chart above.

2000 Bahamas stranding caused by Naval Sonar

2000 Bahamas stranding caused by Naval Sonar

Connections between Naval acoustic activities and strandings are on the rise. While few strandings due to sonar are acknowledged by the Navy the stranding in the Bahamas in 2000 was confirmed and the effects were devastating as noted by cetacean researcher and expert Ken Balcolmb in an interview discussing the 2000 stranding in the Bahamas:

Yes there’s actually hemorrhaging going on. It isn’t an auditory injury per se. It affects the ears, but this pressure damage is not related to whether or not the whales have temporary threshold shift in their hearing [a hearing loss]. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) says these injuries are survivable-and they are, but only with hospitalization. And whales don’t have that option. (source)

Navy sonar recorded 2003 in the Puget Sound.

Orca approach researchers

Orca approach researchers Puget Sound, Washington

Join the voice of opposition to the use of Naval Sonar and all acoustic devices in the oceans.

Please leave a comment asking NOAA/NMFS to deny the Navy’s request for a permit to do  acoustic experiments in the North Pacific. The comment period on this permit ends on May 2, 2013 so get your comment in today! 

Comments on the application should be addressed to P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is ITP.Magliocca@noaa.gov.

Read the entire permit proposal hereFollow the permits as they are listed here.

Atlantic Seismic Survey Promises Death and Devastation for Dolphins,Whales, and other Sea Life


By Kirsten Massebeau

FIGURE 1. Location of the proposed seismic surveys and OBH/S instruments at the proposed study site in the northeast Atlantic Ocean during  June–July 2013, and marine protected areas in Spain.

FIGURE 1. Location of the proposed seismic surveys and OBH/S instruments at the proposed study site in the northeast Atlantic Ocean during
June–July 2013, and marine protected areas in Spain.

The month of June thru July 12, 2013 promises death and destruction for dolphins, whales, and all the sea life in the Northeastern Atlantic ocean as a seismic survey takes place in a marine protected area. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DE) are planning to do a seismic survey with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation to search for gas and oil deposits. This planned high energy seismic survey will take place  in International waters in and within the exclusive zone (EEZ) of Spain in water depths greater than 3000 meters or approximately 1 and 3/4 miles under the surface. The Marcus G. Langeth will be towing a 18 gun array of 160-190 Db of deadly sound. The intervals between blasts would be 15 seconds for 39 days without stopping. “Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These dynamite-like blasts—which are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time—are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.  Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates”.

Blue Voice was on the scene as 2800 dolphins continued to wash up on the beaches of North Peru

Blue Voice was on the scene as 2800 dolphins continued to wash up on the beaches of North Peru

Every day more strandings and cetacean deaths are linked to seismic testing and sonar. In 2012 the deaths of 1000’s of dolphins off the coast of Peru was linked to acoustic trauma:

“The marine veterinarian, Carlos Yaipen-Llanos, who is president of the conservation group Orca Peru, said in an interview that necropsies that he and his colleagues performed on three separate expeditions indicated that the dolphins examined were bleeding in their middle ears and had suffered fractures there. They also had gas in their solid internal organs and severe acute pulmonary emphysema, symptoms consistent with death from decompression sickness — that is, the bends, he said.

“The animals died from decompression sickness caused by acoustic trauma,” he said” (source)

How a seismic test works

How a seismic test works

Air gun before and after discharge.  By Ocean Conservation Research


By Ocean Conservation Research

Listen to the sound of a seismic survey. Try to this explosion repeating every 15 seconds for over a month. Remember this survey has an 18 air gun array!

What can you do? Sign the petition created by Ted Danson and be a voice for dolphins, whales and all ocean life. 

Letter Opposing Proposed Navy Permits to Harm and Harass 31 million Dolphins and Whales


By Kirsten Massebeau

Dolphin death linked to Naval Sonar exercises off the coast of San Diego,Ca. 2008/In 2000, 17 wnales stranded on beaches in the Bahamas following U.S. Navy sonar exercises. Beaked whales appear to be especially sensitive to sonar.

Dolphin death linked to Naval Sonar exercises off the coast of San Diego,Ca. 2008/In 2000, 17 whales stranded on beaches in the Bahamas following U.S. Navy sonar exercises. Beaked whales appear to be especially sensitive to sonar.

If the U.S. Navy is awarded two permits to “take” 31 million whales and dolphins over the next five years the results will be devastating to whales, dolphins, seals and all marine life off the Atlantic Coastline, Hawaii and Southern California Coastlines. The comment period on these two permits closes on March 11, 2013. Both permits are still up for review. Follow these links to see the permits and submit your comments.

How many more must die for war games!

How many more must die for war games!

A sample letter and suggestions have been provided by Stephen Hambrick creator of the  Facebook Event: Save Whales & Dolphins from Navy Sonar Massacre! 

Please enter your comments regarding the Navy sonar testing. Tell them the potential casualty rate of Marine Mammals is unacceptable.
– NOTE VERY IMPORTANT. Please Be polite. At the end of your Comment Say the following “Request the application by the US Navy be denied.”

EXAMPLE COMMENTS…….

The following are all very good examples, however it is not necessary to leave a lengthy Comment.

Such as :
a) The loss of marine life is too great, the oceans with all the vastly diversified free-roaming life of Cetaceans, together with all the other life forms contained within them are not owned or vested to the determination of the USA. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

b) “I write to express my opposition to this permit. To further allow the Navy to have an increase in incidental takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area
The numbers of marine mammals the Navy plans to harm, harass, and kill are catastrophic in impact to all the species specified. It is without precedent to slaughter, maim, otherwise harm cetaceans and other sea life on this scale. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

c) This permit seeks to fundamentally effect the balance of the worlds oceans and it’s natural habit I wish therefore to demand that you do not award the navy this permit, which seeks to commit devastation which will have consequences well beyond the the USA oceanic jurisdiction. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

d) Dostana posts, “The loss of marine life is too great, the oceans with all the vastly diversified free-roaming life of Cetaceans, together with all the other life forms contained within them are not owned or vested to the determination of the USA. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.”

e) By the Navy’s own admission, per their application. The Navy requests authorization to take individuals in a total of 74 marine mammal species and another 27 more marine mammals, with serious injury or mortality. While I appreciate the Navy’s ability to defend and protect, the training and exercises should not be at the expense of the life of our oceans. For without our oceans. We have no life!
A panel of leading marine scientists brought together in Oxford in 2011 by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The suggestion made by the panel is that the potential extinction of species, from large fish to tiny corals, is directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions in the geological record, during each of which much of the world’s life died out. The panel of 27 scientists, who considered the latest research from all areas of marine science, concluded that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history”. They also concluded:The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted; Many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions; The first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun. Dr Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and IPSO’s scientific director states: “As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had realized.This is a very serious situation demanding action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, in the lifetime of our children and generations beyond that.” Given the state of our oceans at this time, allowing these tests seems to be far beyond a ‘negligible impact’. Therefore I request the application of the US Navy be denied.

Petitions you can sign!

Permit would allow U.S. Navy to Clear Cut The Oceans of Whales and Dolphins


By Kirsten Massebeau

The U.S. Navy is seeking authorization to “take” the largest number of whales, dolphins and seals in history.

The term “take,” as defined in Section 3 (16 U.S.C. § 1362 (13)) of the MMPA, means “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.” “Harassment” was further defined in the 1994 amendments to the MMPA, which provided two levels of “harassment,” Level A (potential injury) and Level B (potential disturbance). (Section 5)

A record 31 million marine mammals will be injured and killed, at the very least their lives disrupted during Naval training exercises off the Atlantic, Hawaii, and Southern California Coast Range during the 5 year period if the permits are granted.

King Island Tasmania 2009 stranding. Scientists believe that naval sonar from both Australian and US Navy may have been responsible. — Island,Tasmania 2009

King Island Tasmania 2009 stranding. Scientists believe that naval sonar from both Australian and US Navy may have been responsible. — Island,Tasmania 2009

“It’s the largest proposed authorization of these levels of harm since such authorizations have been required under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The Navy’s mid-frequency sonar has been implicated in mass strandings of whales and dolphins across the globe. In 2000, 14 beaked whales and several other marine mammals stranded themselves in the Bahamas in response to U.S. Navy vessels operating offshore mid-frequency sonar. Further investigations revealed bleeding around the whale’s ears and brains”.(source)

Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet 2012

Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet

In the Atlantic alone 2,599 striped dolphins, 2,203 common dolphins, and 1,854 Atlantic spotted dolphins are slated to be injured and killed (Class A). That is only naming a few of the species that will be killed as a by-product of Naval training. Many other millions of encounters are requested in both the Atlantic permit and the Hawaii Southern California Permit citing (Class B) ranging from harassment to temporary hearing loss as seen in the permit request for the Atlantic Fleet Training and testing area:

Over the 5-year LOA period being requested, the Navy requests 1,735 total Level A harassments and 11,559,236 total Level B harassments for all marine mammals combined for testing activities, excluding ship shock trials. 

For one CVN ship shock trial, the Navy’s requests a maximum of 6,591 Level A harassments and 4,607 Level B harassments over the 5-year LOA period. (Source 5.2.1)

Sonar and the explosions created by underwater detonations are deadly to marine mammals. The injuries are painful and death may come slowly as injured and disoriented dolphins and whales flounder for days or weeks in the ocean eventually stranding or dying at sea:

“Many of these beached whales have suffered physical trauma, including bleeding around the brain, ears and other tissues and large bubbles in their organs.

These symptoms are akin to a severe case of “the bends” — the illness that can kill scuba divers who surface quickly from deep water. Scientists believe that the mid-frequency sonar blasts may drive certain whales to change their dive patterns in ways their bodies cannot handle, causing debilitating and even fatal injuries”.(source)

Be a voice for the voiceless! We must insist that the Navy start scaling back their sonar and war games not increasing them. In addition, the Navy’s reliance on people known as “look-outs” to detect marine mammals is unacceptable and inefficient as whales and dolphins spend most of their lives underwater.

What you can do!

Join the event on Facebook Saving Whales and Dolphins from Sonar Navy Massacre!

The two permits now available for comment until March 11, 2013: 

1)  2012 U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Activities (AFTT)

2) 2012 U.S. Navy Hawaii Southern California Training and Testing Activities (HSTT).

United States Citizens Only:

1) Protect Constituents Rights of Appeal on NOAA Marine Mammal Permit Application. The Navy and NOAA/NMFS are trying to take away your right to be a voice for marine mammals. Follow this link the sign the petition.

2) Prohibit Military Sonar and Seismic Testing Harming Marine Mammals. Sign the petition

Action for Marine Mammals 海洋ほ乳類を守る会 Hold Tokyo March Protesting Research Whaling


By Kirsten Massebeau

Tokyo Whaling Protest MarchPhoto By Michael Q Todd

Tokyo Whaling Protest March
Photo By Michael Q Todd

Action for Marine Mammals  海洋ほ乳類を守る会 an independent, Japanese group supporting cetaceans in Japan has staged their second protest in Tokyo. This second protest solely focused on opposition to Japan’s controversial  research whaling program in the Antarctic Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. In 1986 a moratorium was placed on whaling. Since that time Japan has circumvented the ban by using a clause in the moratorium that allows for research whaling. Despite the Japanese government and powerful Japan Fisheries efforts to keep whaling alive the people of Japan are  speaking out against hunting whales and with good reason. Aside from being inhumane the business of whaling is a financially a sinking ship.

Video by seawooluf1

In a recent report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released on February 5 many substantial reasons for ending Japan’s whaling program were listed:

  • Taxpayers Subsidise Money-Losing Industry
  • Subsidies average around ¥782 million (US$9.78 million) annually.*
  • Demand for Whale Meat Falls While Stockpiles Grow
  • Earthquake Relief Funds and Additional Subsidies Diverted: While other needs went unmet, earthquake reconstruction funds to the tune of ¥2.28 billion (US$28.55 million) were diverted from tsunami relief to support “research whaling, stabilization promotion, and countermeasure expenses” for the ICR.
  • Polls: Indifference to Whaling, Opposition to Funding. 85 percent expressed opposition to the use of billions of taxpayer yen to build a new factory ship. (source)
Shibuya Protest Against  Research WhalingBy MQ Todd

Shibuya Protest Against Research Whaling
Photo by Michael Q. Todd

 Without opposition the march was able to move forward with their peaceful yet strong message asking the Japanese government to end research whaling. 48 attended and the event was declared a success. This small but brave group of pioneers now a voice for whales and dolphins have had their second historical march through the streets of Tokyo spreading awareness to 1000’s. Their’s is a message of peace and hope for whales and dolphins in Japan and worldwide.

 

Dolphin and Whale Incidental Takes East Coast Training Unacceptable


By Kirsten Massebeau Champions for Cetaceans Daily Scoop

Atlantic Bottle Nose Dolphin and Calf

The Navy has submitted their request for “incidental takes of marine mammals with NMFS/NOAA for 2012 U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Activities (AFTT). Marine mammals will suffer painful deaths inflicted by sonar, under water explosions and exposure to toxic chemicals. As can be seen in the tables below the number of whales, dolphins, and seals to be killed (harassment A) and impacted (harassment B) are unacceptable. The Navy now admits that harm will be caused yet are increasing their training program and impact on marine mammals. (Source)

REQUEST FOR REGULATIONS AND LETTERS OF AUTHORIZATION
FOR THE INCIDENTAL TAKING OF MARINE MAMMALS
RESULTING FROM U.S. NAVY TRAINING AND TESTING ACTIVITIES
IN THE ATLANTIC FLEET TRAINING AND TESTING STUDY AREA 

(September 2012  FINAL)

(Permit Source for Tables)

These numbers are unacceptable! All ocean activists need to make comments and let our voices be heard. Only we can stop the Navy from decimating whale and dolphin populations. Please follow this link and make your comment. The comment period ends on 11/05/2012. We must convince NMFS/NOAA that these incidental  take numbers are unacceptable!