Pilot Whales Maybe Victims of Friendly Fire by The Navy


BY Kirsten Massebeau and Barbara Napoles

Pilot whales are again discovered on the Gulf of Mexico that lies within the Navy’s Atlantic Training Range. NOAA’s update:

“The U.S. Coast Guard continued to search for the stranded pilot whales during the weekend with no luck. Around 1pm Sunday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found 11 dead pilot whales on Snipe Point in the lower Keys about 6 miles north of Sugar Loaf Key. We believe these are part of the original pod of 51 stranded pilot whales. A rescue team is in route”.(source)

Whales were riding the tide. When the Gulf emptied they were left on the shelf.

Whales were riding the tide. When the Gulf emptied they were left on the shelf. By NOAA

NOAA ,scientists and ocean activists believe the whales that stranded on Snipe Point, north of Sugarloaf Key are part of the original 51 whales that stranded at Highland Point.

Whales trapped on ocean shelf by low tide.

Whales trapped on ocean shelf by low tide.

Barbara Napoles, experienced ocean navigator, and Floridian,explained it simply: “The current carried the whales to Snipe point, the Gulf is like a bowl that empties it’s contents into the Atlantic at low tide”.

It could be speculated that the whales were unable to navigate due to acoustic damage. They were simply carried by the current and as the Gulf emptied the whales were stranded on the shallow shelf between the keys.

Activists are wondering why NOAA/NMFS seems unaware of the Naval exercise taking place in the Atlantic Training Complex especially considering  there is an OPAREA  A danger zone is a defined water area used for target practice, bombing, rocket firing or other especially hazardous military activities, (a restricted air space used for Naval Exercises and Training) in the Florida Keys:” Via NOAAthe team is waiting to hear from the Navy.”(source)

The “Spartans” of NAS Jacksonville-based Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 operate the MH-60R anti-submarine Seahawk helicopter from onboard the Bush and her accompanying ships”.(source) The MH60R helicopter used during the Bush Strike Group Comptuex training exercises is fully loaded, a deadly weapon that has the ability to kill, harm, “take” whales and dolphins. The MH60R is indeed equipped with an impressive array of defensive and counter defensive weaponry:

  • Sonobuoy launcher
  • Raytheon AN/AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency (ALFS) dipping sonar.
  • Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles.
  • The MH-60R can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes.
  •  7.62mm machine gun
  • Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210 electronic support measures system (ESM)
  • Electronic warfare systems include the ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warner,
  • Laser warning system
  • BAE Systems AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer and
  • AN/ALE-39 chaff and flare decoy dispenser.
  • Raytheon AN/AAS-44 detecting / tracking system
  • Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and laser rangefinder.
  • Telephonics AN/APS-147 multimode radar, which has inverse synthetic aperture (ISAR) imaging and periscope and small target detection capabilities.
  •  AN/APS-153 radar, with the automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) capability.

“Scientists will arrive Monday to take samples of these 11 whales to determine cause of death. They are hoping to get better samples to investigate possible disease or biotoxin (e.g., red tide) causes. While there is no evidence to suggest sonar trauma, the team is waiting to hear from the Navy”.(Source)

NOAA/NMFS decision to wait until Monday to even begin the necropsy process on these whales is in itself negligent. The bodies of the whales will  have been decomposing for at least 18 hours and exposed to the elements. In addition, their denial that the whales showed signs related to acoustic trauma ie, disorientation, and inability to navigate as discussed in this article: Underwater sonar systems really DO cause whales to become stranded – because the high frequencies disorientate themseems they are trying to cast the blame away from the Navy and the cetacean victims of their friendly fire.

Short finned pilot whale

Short finned pilot whale by Pablo Gil

While Naval readiness is important when do we begin to question the clear cutting of our oceans by the ever increasing Naval exercises taking place in the waters off our shores. It’s time to clean up our own back yard and question the activities of the Navy and NOAA/NMFS who have rubber stamped their activities.

Update 12/9/2013

We understand that NOAA and the Navy cannot reveal or acknowledge COMPTUEX Naval Exercises because of National Security as was the case with the Cape Cod Strandings. We will be updating as necropsy results become available that we will begin trying to obtain via: the Freedom of Information Act. We encourage all activists to follow up as well.

Follow the NOAA updates on the pilot whales : Here

TWEETSTORM: End the Faroe Grind


By Kirsten Massebeau

Ocean activists are again joining their voices to speak out on behalf of the small whales and dolphins that migrate past the Faroe Islands, on the gulf stream, North of Scotland, and South of Iceland. The archipelago is composed of 18 islands covering 1399 km2 and is 113 km long and 75 km wide, roughly in the shape of an arrowhead (source). In 2013 the beautiful islands offer a great many things to visitors or to people wanting to relocate and improve their quality of life. While unemployment is prevalent in the Faroe Islands the average income on the Faroe Island is a GDP – per capita (PPP): $30,500 (2008 est.) Many of the growing industries on the islands are touted as attractors for new investors, and the beautiful landscape attracts many visitors.

Website “Invest In The Faroes” states:

The community of the Faroe Islands is modern and highly developed with a standard of living that is comparable to other Scandinavian countries.

In 2007, the National Geographic Traveler and the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations named the Faroe Islands the world’s most unspoiled island community and appealing destination to visit.

The Faroe Islands are not merely a delight to the traveller, but also offer a good quality of life to the people who inhabit the archipelago (source)

Invest in the Faroes lists: Fish Farming, Marine Biotech, Suppliers to the Maritime Industries, and Marine Research & Development encouraging investors in all areas. In addition oil exploration began and was licensed in 2000. “Drilling the eight exploration well started in 2012 and continues in 2013 with Statoil as the operator in partnership with ExxonMobil and Atlantic Petroleum”. (source)

While the Faroese people are known for their hospitality to their human visitors, and investors, the same hand of friendship is not extended to the highly intelligent pilot whales and dolphins that migrates the gulf stream past their islands each year.

The Faroese disregard the Bonn Convention ban on killing small whales and dolphins and continue the mass killings of huge pods of small cetaceans. The island residents claim the toxic dolphin meat is still an essential part of their diet but scientists disagree:

Dietary recommendations regarding pilot whale meat and blubber in the Faroe Islands

Pál Weihe, Høgni Debes Joensen

“The latest analyses show that the mercury concentration of pilot whale remains high, with an average of about 2 micrograms per gram. In the EU, the highest limit value of 1 microgram per gram is only applicable to the most contaminated species of fish. This limit is exceeded by most pilot whales.” The physicians noted that mercury and PCB exposure contribute to Parkinson’s disease in adults, impaired immunity in children, and compromised fetal development. “It is recommended that pilot whale is no longer used for human consumption,” they warned. (Source)

A living pilot whale restrained by the sharp hook in the blowhole about to be slaughtered. November 16, 2013

A pilot whale is restrained using by placing a large hook in the sensitive blowhole. The man above is attempting to locate the spinal cord which he hopes to sever using a technique called pithing. The dolphin is the paralyzed but still conscious, ready for slaughter.

“A whale’s blowhole is a remarkably refined evolutionary development which allows it to breathe in and out in about a second, without letting any water enter the lungs. It can be speculated that sticking a metal hook into the blowhole and dragging a large whale through the water must cause alarm, distress, and pain” (source).

The drive hunts, or the ‘Grinds,’ are an extremely inhumane practice where entire family groups are rounded up out at sea by small motor boats and driven to the shore where they are killed in shallow bays. Once they beach, blunt-ended metal hooks inserted into their blowholes are used to drag the whales up the beach or in the shallows, where they are killed with a knife cut to their major blood vessels.

Whales thrash their families are slaughtered in the shallow waters.

Whales thrash as the entire pod is slaughtered in shallow rocky waters.

WDCS believes that the driving, dragging and killing, all of which takes place within view of their pod members, is intensely stressful and cruel. Pilot whales, and other species, including bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and northern bottlenose whales, are still hunted for their meat in the Faroe Islands (Source)

“On health grounds alone, these whales should not have been killed. Combine that with the inherent cruelty, and serious questions continue to be asked of this highly modern society as to why the needless massacre of pilot whales continues“(source).

Despite the International Union For Conservation of Nature Red Listing the Globicephala melas of the Delphinidae,long finned pilot whale as data deficient huge pods continue to be driven into Faroese bays and coves where they are brutally slaughtered. In addition to pilot whales, this year, 430 Atlantic white sided dolphins were added to their long list of victims. 1534 small whales/ dolphins have been slaughtered in the Faroe Islands since the beginning of 2013. See the break down HERE.

  • ON YOUR COMPUTER (TWITTER)
  • JOIN our TWEETSTORM on November 19th to voice an end to the Faroe grind. The grind is the hunt of pilot whales and other dolphins in the Faroe Islands.TWEETSTORM TIME ANNOUNCER: ► http://bit.ly/18CAt1E
    COUNTDOWN TO TWEETSTORM: ► http://bit.ly/19s4zo1LIST OF PRE-MADE TWEETS WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY BEFORE THE SCHEDULED TWEETSTORM.