Kiska an Isolated Killer Whale Highlights the Importance of Marineland Protest


By Kirsten Massebeau

Marineland Protest May 18, 2013 by Dylan Powell

Marineland Protest May 18, 2013 by Lauren Corman

They gathered 1000 strong at Marineland on May 18, 2013 calling out for the notorious Marine Park to be shut down. In August of 2012 The Star began a series of articles exposing the cruel and neglectful treatment of animals as ex-trainers came forward, “Marineland animals suffering, former staff says”. Dolphins with peeling skin, sea lions blinded by poor water quality, and the eventual violent death of an infant beluga whale are only the tip of a very large iceberg of animal abuse. In December of 2012 the Star released yet another article revealing a secret mass animals grave yet even that would not be enough to “shut it down”. Sadly The OSPCA investigation ended in April of 2013 allowing Marineland to continue with business as usual. In the article, “OSPCA investigation ends as Marineland Complies with orders” states that many orders were given some of which involved Kiska the isolated killer whale:

He said in March the verbal orders were to assess and clean up the water and to enrich the environment of lone killer whale Kiska.

Marineland administrator Tracy Stewart said in an email at the time “there is no such thing as a ‘verbal order’ and consequently none were issued,” therefore, there were no orders on Kiska and the water system.

Kiska lives her life isolated and alone. Opening day by Natalie Lucier

In the first paragraph of the Humane Societies academic paper “Killer Controversy why orca should not be kept in captivity” the author Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D. describes, orcas as intelligent and family-oriented. Orca pods in the wild stay together for a lifetime yet Kiska is kept in a tiny tank alone. Retired from performing she literally floats in a world poisoned by chlorine, devoid of family and friends, destined to spend her remaining years in the silence of  a cement pool. Never will she have a family or feel the rhythms of the ocean.

Origami by Val Underwood May 18, 2013

Origami by Val Underwood for protest May 18, 2013

The good news is the battle continues. Following the protest event one of the organizers Dylan Powell stated, ” I want people to understand how important these protests are at Marineland”. Each protest gains more supporters for the animals languishing at Marineland. While Kiska and the other animals continue to suffer with no end in sight the battle to save them carries on to “Shut It Down”.

Be a voice for those that cannot speak for themselves the animals! Join the campaign to end the captivity of animals at Marineland by joining the open Facebook group Marineland Animal Defense M.A.D. and follow on Twitter M.A.D. @marinelandAD.

The 2013 Torture and Slaughter of Sea Lions Commences in the Pacific Northwest


By Kirsten Massebeau

Port of Astoria March 24, 2013 By Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Dam Guardians

Port of Astoria March 24, 2013 By Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Dam Guardians

No marine mammal is safe when it comes to protecting the rights of commercial fisherman and anglers. Oregon and Washington are not about to give up even 1% of the salmon they harvest each year even if it means killing sea lions. Thanks to a court ruling National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)  is using lethal force to stop the Columbia River Sea Lions from taking salmon at the Bonneville dam where salmon struggle each year to make it through the man-made fish ladders. Any sea lion that visits the Bonneville dam more than twice will be killed or sent to marine parks such as Sea World to live their lives in captivity giving marine parks and aquariums a new source of display animals.

Panicked sea lions packed into a floated cage are branded one by one.March 24, 2013 by SSCS Dam Guardian

At the Port of Astoria panicked sea lions packed into a floated cage are branded with a hot iron one by one.
March 24, 2013 by SSCS Dam Guardian

“In 2011, sea lions consumed just over 1% of the salmon run at the same time that Oregon and Washington permitted fisheries in the Columbia River to harvest as much as 12 percent of the very same run”. (Source)

The Human Society makes some very good points as to why the salmon are not recovering. Sadly, again we find the work of human beings as reasons causing the collapse of salmon not the sea lions.

  • The plan to shoot sea lions coincides with estimates that this spring’s Columbia River salmon run is likely to be the among the fourth largest since 1980 while, as of the date of lethal removal authorization, only two California sea lions had been seen at the dam, the fewest to date of any year since 2003 and the time each animal spends at the dam has been steadily declining over the past few years.
  • The major causes of salmon losses are:

Dams: NMFS estimates the Federal Columbia River Power System kills 16.8 percent of adult Snake River Basin Steelhead and 59.9 percent of juveniles.

*Hatcheries: In 2009, a Congressionally mandated science panel found that current fish hatchery practices interfere with recovery and are in urgent need of reform.

*Fishing: The states annually authorize the incidental take of between 5.5 and 17 percent of the Upper Columbia spring Chinook and Upper Snake River spring/summer Chinook.  Additional salmon are killed in ocean fisheries. Employment of selective gear would permit wild, ESA-listed salmon and steelhead to be released unharmed when caught in the Columbia River fisheries that target abundant hatchery fish.

*Other Predators: Bird predators consume millions of juvenile salmon in the Columbia River estuary each year. NMFS scientists also estimate that non-native walleye that are intentionally stocked by the states in the Columbia River eat up to 2 million juvenile salmon a year.  (source)

Branded sea lions at the Port of Astoria by SSCS Dam Guardians March 24, 2013

Branded sea lions at the Port of Astoria by SSCS Dam Guardians March 24, 20113

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Dam Guardian’s are working in full force to document the injustices against the sea lions. SSCS Dam Guardian Ellie Buchanan recounts the cruel hazing of 30 sea lions on Palm Sunday:

Palm Sunday for some is supposed to be a peaceful holiday. We woke to the sounds of sea lion screams coming from Pier 36. We scrambled to get dressed, get our equipment, and get down to the docks. We were astounded by the sight of 30 + beautiful sea lions, in sheer terror, climbing upon each other and crying out in fear. Trying to escape their human captors. Sea Lions literally filled the trap, and the weight was causing the cage to sink.
The sea lions sitting on the docks were also upset. Little ones were swimming up to see their friends in the trap.
Matt from O.D.F.W. would bang on the bottom of the trap with a stick and the only way out of the trap was to go into the squeeze cage. Where they would be held tightly against their will, their movements restricted while seering hot irons were pressed into their flesh. (source)

A wounded sea lion struggles for life. March 22, 2013By SSCS Dam Guardians

An injured sea lion struggles for life after being branded. March 22, 2013
By SSCS Dam Guardians

A question many Oregonians have is how will this impact tourism? Ellie Buchanan SSCS Dam Guardian had first hand experience with this on Palm Sunday:

A woman was screaming “Don’t hurt the babies, Matt, how do you sleep at night?” We talked to tourists who heard the sea lions and this woman screaming. They flocked to the pier, and walked away with the truth about what is happening to our oceans, and to marine wildlife on The Willamette and Columbia River. I noticed they would come with smiles on their faces and left looking disturbed. With horror and tears on their faces.
With tears streaming down our face, we refused not to look away. We documented this horror for over six hours. (Source)

Sea lions at the Bonneville Dam March 22, 2013By SSCS Dam Guardians

Sea lions at the Bonneville Dam March 22, 2013
By SSCS Dam Guardians

Visit the website Sea Shepherds Dam Guardians and find out how you can join the campaign to save the sea lions.

Please join the event on Facebook Rock The #DamTweet For Sea Lions! There you will find many ways to take action so that you too can help to stop this terrible injustice to sea lions.

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!

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!

Arctic Faces Acoustic Double Whammy


Arctic Bowhead Whale By Life of The Sea

The remote Arctic Beaufort Sea, Simpson Lagoon, and Chukchi Sea are bracing themselves as Shell Oil, and possibly BP power towards those pristine waters in search of oil. If BP is awarded this permit both Shell Oil and BP will be doing seismic surveys during the same period in the Beaufort Sea for and estimated 50 days. Two of BP’s  ships will be firing air guns 24 hours 24 a day at dB levels of  >160dB to 230dB  flooding the shallow Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands with sound for several months Source.

Since the beginning of 2012, 3000 dolphins have washed ashore on Peruvian coastlines, “One theory is that powerful sound caused by oil exploration ships could have resulted in internal damage for the mammals, Carlos Yaipen Llanos, science director of the marine mammal rescue group Organización Científica para Conservación de Animales Acuáticos (ORCA), told the Peruvian news” source. Follow this link to see pictures of dolphin tissue samples taken and analyzed by Dr. Carlos Yaipen and released by BlueVoice.org.

Shell Oil has already received their Letter of Authorization (LOA) to begin oil exploration activities in the Beaufort Sea, Camden Bay and the Chukchi Sea:”The authorization for taking by harassment is limited to the following acoustic sources(or sources with comparable frequency and intensity) and from the following activities”:

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of 760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; source.

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; (d).aircraft associated with marine mammal monitoring and support operations. source.

Simpson Lake Located in the Beaufort Sea

“BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) proposes to conduct a 3D ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic survey in the Simpson Lagoon area, Beaufort Sea, for an estimated 50 days of work during the open water period of approximately 1 July to 15 October 2012″source BP plans to use three seismic ships that will carry a total of 40 air guns some of which will  fire simultaneously for 24 hours a day. “Again, the advantage of source vessels alternating shots is that more data can be acquired in shorter time. Seismic data acquisition is a 24 hour per day operation”source.

Seismic Survey

Although Seismic Testing is often presented as benign just seeing and hearing the underwater explosions one can only imagine the damage that is caused at every level of ocean life. The ships are using 40 air-guns and more. The guns are firing the air guns simultaneously so the explosions are never ending for the 50 days of seismic tesing. Here is a video of a visual video of an airgun firing video. Here is an acoustic recording of a single underwater airgun firing recovering then firing again: listen now.

As the evidence supporting horrific devastation to the oceans and marine life due to seismic testing continues to compile surely the federal government can spare the Arctic region where so little is known about the ocean life. This is a place where commercial fishing is not allowed, Home to bowhead, Beluga and gray whales this is an area so sensitive that no commercial fishing has been allowed under National Marine Fisheries Ruling established in 2009 source.

Arctic Bowhead Whales Mother and Calve

What can you do? Send NOAA/NMFS an email asking  not to award BP the permit for a seismic survey in the Beaufort Ocean. Comments and information must be received no later than May 31, 2012. Comments should be addressed to: Tammy Adams, Acting Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service at ITP.guan@noaa.gov or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.

B P Makes Bid for Arctic Oil


By Kirsten Massebeau

BP's Proposed Area for Seismic Testing
BP is right on the heels of Shell Oil in the race for oil in the Fragile Arctic region. Shell  has been given permits to begin seismic testing and exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea both to begin on July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. British Petroleum (BP) is also requesting a permit to begin a seismic survey in the fragile Simpson Lagoon in the Beaufort Sea a small and pristine habitat teeming with life. BP is known for their environmental disaster in the Gulf Coast  that is still suffering from the spill, “Dolphins and fish are dying at distressing rates as oil and dispersants from BP’s 2010 spill lurk in Gulf waters and south Louisiana marshes”source.

If BP is awarded this permit both Shell Oil and BP will be doing seismic surveys during the same period in the Beaufort Sea for and estimated 50 days. Two of BP’s  ships will be firing air guns 24 hours 24 a day at dB levels of  >160dB sometimes creating blasts as high as 230dB  flooding the shallow Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands with sound for several months Source.  

What is a seismic survey? “Seismic surveys are used to locate and estimate the size of offshore oil and gas reserves. To carry out such surveys, ships tow multiple air gun arrays that emit thousands of high-decibel explosive impulses to map the sea floor. The auditory assault from seismic surveys has been found to damage or kill fish eggs and larvae and to impair the hearing and health of fish and marine mammals, making them vulnerable to predators and leaving them unable to locate prey or mates or communicate with each other. These disturbances can disrupt and displace important migratory patterns, pushing marine life away from suitable habitats like nurseries and foraging, mating, spawning, and migratory corridors. In addition, seismic surveys have been implicated in whale beaching and stranding incidents” source. “The source level of most air gun arrays can be 200dB or higher. For comparison, a loud rock concert is about 115dB and a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140dB. A typical seismic air gun array pulled by a ship might fire its compressed air bubbles into the ocean five or six times a minute — more than 7,000 shots in 24 hours”source. To see an air-gun underwater explosion click on  this link .

Imagine the damage the air guns will do to a shallow fragile, coastal environment of the Simpson Lagoon, “The survey area in Simpson Lagoon has water depths of 0 to 9 ft between the shore and barrier islands and 3 to 45 ft depths north of the barrier islands”source.

BP plans to use three seismic ships that will carry a total of 40 air guns some of which will  fire simultaneously for 24 hours a day. “Again, the advantage of source vessels alternating shots is that more data can be acquired in shorter time. Seismic data acquisition is a 24 hour per day operation”source.

How many cetaceans and pinniped is BP asking to expose to greater than 160dB of sound? These number are for the Simpson Lagoon area not including the barrier islands. To see incidental take number for barrier islands follow this link. In addition,  what will happen to the algae, phytoplankton, krill, fish, squid and other diverse marine life of this Arctic region? Home to Bow head, Beluga and gray whales this is an area so sensitive that no commercial fishing has been allowed under National Marine Fisheries Ruling established in 2009 source. When so little is known about the sea life and eco-system  in this remote part of the world is it really prudent to open it up to oil and gas exploration? There are few protections for even dolphins and whales protected marine mammals. Marine Mammals Observers (MMO) are stationed two to a ship watching for whales. This crude form of monitoring does not take into account underwater activities of cetaceans and other sea life. There is little known about  Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands, “Information on fishes in coastal waters of the Alaskan Arctic is outdated or nonexistent” source.

Is the risk of an oil spill worth it? Isn’t the death of just one whale from air guns or an oil spill too much? Isn’t the death and destruction of the algae, and other nutrients and low level life on the ocean floor too much? Isn’t allowing BP to do seismic testing or any kind of oil exploration in the Arctic Beaufort Sea asking too much?

What can you do? Send NOAA/NMFS an email asking  not to award BP the permit for a seismic survey in the Beaufort Ocean. Comments and information must be received no later than May 31, 2012. Comments should be addressed to: Tammy Adams, Acting Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National MarineFisheries Service ITP.guan@noaa.gov or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.


Cape Cod Dolphin Stranding Coincides with Atlantic Naval Warfare Exercises in 10 years


Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet

By Kirsten Massebeau and Edward Johnson

January 12, 2012 will always be remembered as the day the mass stranding of common dolphins began on Cape Cod’s Wellfleet. Dolphins began to strand that afternoon and continued into the month of February. Government funded non profit IFAW strand network and NOAA have continued to contend there is no connection to sonar despite the largest Naval Warfare exercises in 10 years. But the carcasses of dolphins decomposing on the Cape Cod Coastline are screaming out for an investigation into what really happened by an unbiased, independent team of scientists who are not funded by the U.S. government. It is no surprise that each and every “expert”interviewed is government funded. They want the world to believe this was a “natural” occurrence yet how can we when all the information related to the stranding is being handled by government funded agencies and scientists, a truly biased group. Dolphin conservationists are challenging the Navy to release locations of the sonar carrying vessels during these training exercises and the sonar pings and anthropogenic noise created by by underwater detonations. In addition, some of the foreign participants may have been using sonar that is not described in the Naval permit in any other way than classified:

“Active sonar Systems to be deployed along US Atlantic Coast and Gulf”

“Disturbance  The presence and movement of vessels represent a source of acute and chronic disturbance for marine mammals and sea turtles. The underwater noise generated by vessels may disturb animals when the animal perceives that an approach has started and during the course of the interaction. 6.1.2 High-frequency active sonar Several of the torpedoes and the AN/BQS-15 sonar system, which Navy submarines use for under-ice navigation and mine-hunting, produce high-frequency sounds (see Table 7). In addition, two of the active sonar systems the U.S. Navy employs as part of its mine warfare scenarios – AN/AQS-14, which is an active-controlled, helicoptertowed mine-hunting active sonar and AN/AQS-24 which is an upgraded version of AN/AQS-14 – operate at frequencies higher than 200 kHz.

6.1.3 Mid-frequency active sonar

Naval sonars operate on the same basic principle as fish-finders (which are also a kind of sonar): brief pulses of sound, or “pings,” are projected into the ocean and an accompanying hydrophone system in the sonar device listens for echoes from targets such as ships, mines or submarines. Several sonar systems are likely to be employed during the active sonar training activities the U.S. Navy plans to conduct along the Atlantic Coast of the United States andin the Gulf of Mexico, but several systems pose potential risks to listed resources (we should note that other navies that might be involved in some of the active sonar training exercises, such as Joint Task Force Exercises, employ similar active sonar systems as well, but we do not have the information necessary to describe those systems”. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/consultations/biop_navy_afast_loa2012.pdf

Based on Table 7, pg. 139 under disturbances which indicate that the use of these systems will be the source of acute and chronic disturbance for marine mammals and sea turtles, this permit allows ten different systems to be considered classified.  These classified systems are indicated as such for two reasons 1) Apparently at the request of the US Navy or 2) Systems that belong to a foreign government participating in some form of joint task force operation. NOAA and NMFS in others words by allowing the use of these damaging to lethal systems has basically agreed to circumvent the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The following is a list of those systems:

AN/SQS-53 and AN/SQS-56 MF Classified, AN/BQQ-5 or 10 MF Classified, MK-48 Torpedo HF       Classified, MK-46 or 54 Torpedo HF Classified, IEER (AN/SSQ-110A) Impulsive -Broadband Classified, AN/SLQ-25 (NIXIE) MF Classified, AN/SQQ-32 HF Classified, AN/BQS-15 HF Classified, ADC MK-1, MK-2, MK-3, and MK-4 ADCs MF Classified, & Noise Acoustic Emitters (NAE) MF Classified

 Conservationists are asking how such and extensive Naval operation using sonar could be be ruled out as the cause to the Atlantic cetacean strandings during January and February 2012 on the Atlantic Ocean. Government funded Katie Moore of IFAW in her article “Putting conspiracy to bed for Cape Cod’s stranded dolphins, it wasn’t U.S. Navy Sonar”, goes to great lengths to convince the reader that sonar is not the cause of the Cape Cod stranding’s. “The Navy has not conducted a major training exercise in the Northeast US within the last 24 months.  Currently there is only one active area of the Mid-Atlantic coast and according to both parties; Operation Bold Alligator 12, did not involve active sonar”. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/consultations/biop_navy_afast_loa2012.pdf.

Here is an excellent response by an anonymous commenter to Katie Moore’s article:

“Please don’t blithely dismiss people’s concerns about the Navy’s use of active sonar by using the word “conspiracy”. Although I respect the fact that you were a leader in this recent stranding case and I admire the work of your organization, the fact is that the effects of LFAS and MFAS on most species of cetaceans are largely unknown. What we do know is that small cetaceans will react to active sonar (Haro Strait 2003), but the Navy has a long history of not being forthright with the public, and NOAA is arm in arm with the Navy. Thanks to the work of a few brave and knowledgeable individuals and organizations, the public would not only continue to be in the dark about the Navy’s use of active sonar in its training ranges (dating back at least 60 years), but would continue to be left out of the legal and public commenting process. Let them question without being ridiculed”. http://www.ifaw.org/us/news/putting-conspiracy-bed-cape-cods-stranded-dolphins-it-wasn%E2%80%99t-us-navy-sonar#comment-51136

NOAA also made a point to dispel any questions about Sonar being involved, “Could military activities (e.g., Navy sonar or exercises) be causing these strandings? The Navy has not conducted a major training exercise off the coast of Massachusetts or anywhere in the Northeast in the last 24 months. Some animal welfare organizations have inquired about “Operation Bold Alligator, which was a combined Navy and Marine Corps training exercise recently conducted off the coast of North Carolina and southern Virginia. No hull mounted active sonar was used during “Operation Bold Alligator 12.” Activities conducted during that exercise could not possibly have affected dolphins in the Gulf of Maine and Cape Cod Bay”. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/commondolphins_massachusetts2012.ht

In fact, there were not one but two Naval Exercises conducted in the “Atlantic” during January and February. It began with Comptuex JTFEX and went on to include Operation Bold Alligator. The magnitude of the Naval training exercises that took place in the Atlantic ocean during these months are mind boggling.  The U.S. Navy began Comptuex (Composite Training Exercise, JTFEX (Joint Task Fleet Exercise) on January 11, 2012 in the Atlantic ocean.”USS Enterprise (CVN 65) departed its homeport of Norfolk, Va., Jan. 11 to participate in a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX)”The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group includes USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Carrier Air Wing 1, Destroyer Squadron 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), guided-missile destroyers USS Porter (DDG 78), USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) and USS Nitze (DDG 94)”>http://mt-milcom.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2012-01-13T06:45:00-05:00&max-results=2 The USS James E. Williams a sonar laden guided missile destroyer is pictured above in the “Atlantic” performing a live fire exercise on January 12, 2012. Exact locations in the “Atlantic” are undisclosed.

Comptuex JTFEX Crew Certification January 18th 2012

“The goal of the exercise is to integrate and assess the staff and individual units within the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, and to grant the strike group major operations certification upon completion.http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64784

“The JTFEX will test the ship’s ability, as well as that of its strike group, to operate in a complex, hostile environment with other U.S. and coalition forces”. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64784

“COMPTUEX is the last major battle group exercise that the James E. Williams will have before we deploy with the Enterprise Strike Group this spring,” said Cmdr. Christopher M. Senenko, the commanding officer of James E. Williams”. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64784

“It’s a last opportunity for the battle group to integrate, demonstrate all the mission sets we possibly may encounter on deployment, and get certification from the operational chain-of-command,” said Senenko”http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=6478

“Hudson and Crosby also act as evaluators who are responsible for tactically employing SONAR to find threats. When a threat is found they place the ship or ships in their control into the most opportune environment to prosecute the threat”. http://navaltoday.com/2012/01/31/usa-arleigh-burke-class-guided-missile-destroyer-flexes-undersea-warfare-capabilities/

Comptuex/JTFEX and Operation Bold Alligator Underway February 8th 2012

Operation Bold Alligator took place from January 30-February 12, 2012

“Thousands of Marines storm U.S. beaches as Operation Bold Alligator sees biggest amphibious landing for a decade”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2097624/Thousands-Marines-storm-U-S-beaches-Operation-Bold-Alligator-simulates-international-invasion.html#ixzz1npyQiDCP

“Bold Alligator is a large-scale, multinational Navy-Marine Corps amphibious exercise conducted by U.S. Fleet Forces and Marine Forces Command. It will be the Atlantic Fleet’s largest amphibious exercise in 10 years. The 2012 exercise is centralizing planning and execution of a brigade-sized amphibious assault from a seabase in a medium threat environment. Following a decade of ground war, this event is intended to revitalize, refine and strengthen core amphibious competencies of the Navy and Marine Corps”.  http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=244896

Interestingly an article published by PBS, “Just Ask: Could Sonar Be Responsible for Cap Cod Dolphin Strandings?” PBS interviews again interviews government funded and government funded Katie Moore of IFAW and then adds the voice of government funded Darlene Ketten of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute famous for their use of air guns, blasts of sound that map the ocean floor,

“Katie Moore, manager of the marine mammal rescue effort for theInternational Fund for Animal Welfare says she’s seen no evidence of any of these symptoms in the dolphins she and her team have tried to rescue.Darlene Ketten of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who has been studying the stranded dolphins in her lab, agrees. Research is still ongoing, she says, but lab analyses show no indication of animals suffering from issues related to acoustics”. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/02/just-ask-could-sonar-be-responsible-for-cape-cod-dolphin-strandings.html Lastly, PBS brings in the Navy, “The United States Navy has operated one marine training exercise on the East Coast this year, according to U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Matt Allen. The exercise, Operation Bold Alligator, occurred between Jan. 30 and Feb. 12 in and around the coasts of southern Virginia and North Carolina. High frequency active sonar may have been used in this operation, Allen said. “This type of sonar is used for depth finding and mine location purposes, and is similar to fathometers, which are used by fisherman,” he said. “But it’s short range and has never been associated with marine mammal strandings.”http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/02/just-ask-could-sonar-be-responsible-for-cape-cod-dolphin-strandings.html

So why the smoke screen? Where is any mention of Comptuex JTFEX? Why is it unreasonable for United States Taxpayers to question Naval activities in relation to Cape Cod or any other stranding? In reality the Navy has a permit to “take” many more common dolphins annually on the Atlantic Ocean than the nearly 180 that stranded on Cape Cod.

“The Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, 1562 Mitscher Ave., Ste 250,
Norfolk, VA 23551-2457 and persons operating under his authority (i.e., Navy), are authorized
to take marine mammals incidental to Navy activities conducted as part of the Atlantic Fleet
Active Sonar Training (AF AST) in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in accordance with
50 CFR Part 216, Subpart V– Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; U.S. Navy’ s Atlantic
Fleet Active Sonar Training (AF AST) subject to the provisions of the Marine Mamma l
Protection Ac t (16 U.S.C. 1361 e t seq.; MMPA) and the following conditions”

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/2011_afast_loa_coverletter.pdf

This Authorization is valid for the period February 7, 2011, through January 21, 2012
(i) Mysticetes:
(A) North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) – 733
(B) Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) – 4622
(C) Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) – 457
(D) Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) 1163
(E) Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) – 970
(F) Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) 40
(G) Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) 881
(ii) Odontocetes:
2 (A) Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) 10734
(B) Pygmy or dwa r f sperm whales (Kogia breviceps or Kogia sima)
4822
(C) Beaked Whales (Cuvier’s, True’s, Gervais’, Sowerby’s, Blainville’s,
Northern bottlenose whale) (Ziphius cavirostris, Mesoplodon mirus, M.
europaeus, M. bidens, M. densirostris, Hyperoodon ampullatus) 5398
(D) Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) – 2979
(E) Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) 667482
(F) Pan-tropical dolphin (Stenella attenuata) – 153237
G) Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) – 413917
(H) Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) – 23271
(I) Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) 51082
(1) Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) 192196
(K) Common dolphin (Delphinus spp.) 106106 
(L) Fraser’s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) – 381
(M) Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) 103483
(N) Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) – 22716
(0) White-beaked dophin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) – 3795
(P) Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) – 1819
(Q) Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) 308
(R) False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) 592
(S) Killer whale (Orcinus orca) – 553
(T) Pilot whales (Short-finned pilot or long-finned) (Globicephala
macrorynchus or G. melas) 140132

4. (a) The taking of marine mammals by the Navy is only authorized if it occurs
incidental to the use of the following mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS) sources, high
frequency active sonar (HF AS) sources, or explosive sonobuoys for U.S. Navy anti-submarine
warfare (ASW), mine warfare (MIW) training, maintenance, or research, development, testing,
and evaluation (RDT &E) in the amounts indicated below:
(i) AN/SQS-53 (hull-mounted sonar) – 3214 hours
(ii) AN/SQS-56 (hull-mounted sonar) – 1684 hours
(iii) AN/SQS-56 or 53 (hull-mounted sonar in object detection mode) – 216
hours
(iv) ANIBQQ-10 or 5 (submarine sonar) – 9976 pings (v) ANI AQS-22 or 13 (helicopter dipping sonar) – 2952 dips
(vi) SSQ-62 (Directional Command Activated Sonobuoy System (DICASS)
sonobuoys) – 5853 sonobuoys
(vii) MK-48 (heavyweight torpedoes) 32 torpedoes
(viii) MK-46 or 54 (lightweight torpedoes) 24 torpedoes
(ix) AN/SSQ- l l OA (lEER explosive sonobuoy) – 1725 sonobuoys
(x) AN/SSQ-125 (AEER) sonar sonobuoy) – 1550
(xi) AN/SLQ-25 (NIXIE – towed countermeasure) – 2500 hours
(xii) ANIBQS-15 (submarine navigation) 450 hours
(xiii) MK-1 or 2 or 3 or 4 (Submarine-fired Acoustic Device Countermeasure
(ADC» – 225 ADCs
(xiv) Noise Acoustic Emitters (NAE – Sub-fired countermeasure) – 127 NAEs
(b) l i the number of sonar hours, dips, torpedoes, and sonobuoys indicated in Condition
4(a) are exceeded by more than 10 percent, subsequent LOAs issued under the AF AST final rule will ensure that the total activities over five years do not result in exceeding the amount of authorized marine mammal takes indicated in 50 CFR 216.242(c).

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/2011_afast_loa_coverletter.pdf

This Authorization is valid for the period January 22, 2012, through January 22,2014

(i) Mysticetes:
2 (A) North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) 1466
(B) Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) – 9244
(C) Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) – 914
(D) Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) – 2326
(E) Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) – 1940
(F) Bryde ‘ s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) – 80
(G) Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) – 1762
(ii) Odontocetes:
(A) Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) – 21468
(B) Pygmy or dwa r f sperm whales (Kogia breviceps or Kogia s ima ) -
9644
(C) Beaked Whales (Cuvier’s, True’s, Gervais’, Sowerby’s, Blainville’s,
Northern bottlenose whale) (Ziphius cavirostris, Mesoplodon mirus, M.
europaeus, M. bidens, M. densirostris, Hyperoodon ampullatus) – 10796
(D) Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) 5958
(E) Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) – 1334964
(F) Pan-tropical dolphin (Stenella attenuata) – 306474
G) Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) 827824
(H) Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) – 46542
(I) Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) – 102164
(J) Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) – 384392
(K) Common dolphin (Delphinus spp.) – 212212
(L) Fr a s e r ‘ s dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) – 762
(M) Risso’ s dolphin (Grampus griseus) – 206966
(N) Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus) – 45432
(0) White-beaked dophin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) -7590
(P) Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) 3638
(Q) Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata) – 616
(R) False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) – 1194
(S) Killer whale (Orcinus orca) 1106
(T) Pilot whales (Short-finned pilot or long-finned) (Globicephala
macrorynchus or G. melas) 280264
(U) Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) – 337658

The taking of marine mamma l s by the Navy is only authorized if it occurs
incidental to the us e of the following mid-frequency active sonar (MF AS) sources, high
frequency active sonar (HFAS) sources, or similar sources, for U.S. Navy anti-submarine
warfare (ASW), mine warfare (MIW) training, maintenance, or research, development, testing,
and evaluation (ROT &E) in the amounts indicated below:
(i) . AN/SQS-53 (hull-mounted sonar) – 6428 hours (an average of 3214 hours annually)
(ii) AN/SQS-56 (hull-mounted sonar) – 3368 hours (an average of 1684 hours annually)
(iii) AN/SQS-56 or 53 (hull-mounted sona r in object detection mode) – 432 hours (an
average of216 hours annually) (iv) ANIBQQ- I0 or 5 (submarine sonar) – 19952 pings (an average of9976 pings
annually)
(v) AN/AQS-22 or 13 (helicopter dipping sonar) – 5904 dips (an average of2952 dips
annually)
(vi) SSQ-62 (Directional Command Activated Sonobuoy System (DICASS) sonobuoys)
11706 sonobuoys (an average of 5853 sonobuoys annually)
(vii) MK-48 (heavyweight torpedoes) – 64 torpedoes (an average of 32 torpedoes
annually)
(viii) MK-46 or 54 (lightweight torpedoes) – 48 torpedoes (an average of24 torpedoes
annually)
(ix) AN/SSQ- l i OA (IEER explosive sonobuoy) – 3450 sonobuoys (an average of 1725
sonobuoys annually)
(x) AN/SSQ-125 (AEER) sonar sonobuoy) 3100 sonobuoys (an average of 1550
sonobuoys annually)
(xi) AN/SLQ-25 (NIXIE – towed countermeasure) 5000 hours (an average of2500
hours annually)
(xii) ANIBQS-15 (submarine navigation) 900 hours (an average of 450 hours annually)
(xiii) MK-I or 2 or 3 or 4 (Submarine-fired Acoustic Device Countermeasure (ADC»-
450 ADCs (an average of225 ADCs annually)
(xiv) Noise Acoustic Emitters (NAE – Sub-fired countermeasure) – 254 NAEs (an
average of 127 NAEs annually)
(b) I f the number of sonar hours, dips, torpedoes, and sonobuoys indicated in Condition 4(a) are exceeded by more than 10 percent, subsequent LOAs issued under the AF AST final rule will ensure that the total activities over five years do not result in exceeding the amount of authorized marine mammal takes indicated in 50 CFR 216.242(c).”

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/afast_loa2012.pdf

So what does all this mean for dolphins and whales. The numbers of cetaceans that may be “taken” or “harassed” by sonar is huge. In addition, today’s new sonar is more powerful than ever before traveling further and covering even greater distances than ever before yet how does the Navy determine if cetaceans will be effected? By visually looking for whales and dolphins, “Lookouts shall be trained in the most effective means to ensure quick and effective communication within the command structure in order to facilitate implementation of mitigation measures i f marine mammals are spotted”http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/permits/2011_afast_loa_coverletter.pdf  In other words any whale or dolphin diving deep that is not visually detected becomes a casualty.

A video made long ago in 2003 by Ken Balcomb cetacean scientist, demonstrates the painful and devastating effects of sonar. The viewer can only imagine how much stronger sonar and other sounds produced by live Naval warfare games are today and the effect they have on our ocean friends.

It is time to take action. Non government funded organizations and people worldwide are demanding the Navy silence their deadly sonar. The trade off is too great. It is time for the world to open their eyes to the deadly sounds being introduced into the world of dolphins and whales. The ocean is their habitat not mans. Isn’t it time we start putting the ocean and her creatures first.

What you can do?

1) Don’t just take the word of government funded organizations that continue to spread propaganda about sonar. Sonar is very real and it is deadly to whales and dolphins!

Contact the Freedom of Information Act and request location of ships involved in Comptuex JTFEX and Bold Alligator. In addition, request sonar emissions and underwater charges. In addition request necropsy level C data. 

Join us on as we continue to fight the people of the sea. We agree national security is important but at what cost to dolphins whales and all the sea creatures that call the ocean home.