Action Alert: Navy’s Proposed Action Deadly To Resident Orcas


By Kirsten Massebeau

The comment period closes on April 15 for the Navy’s Proposed Actions in the Puget Sound.and the entire Northwest Training Complex.The Navy plans to add pier-side testing and maintenance, increased sonar practicing, and increased underwater charges and mines. While the Navy tries to minimize the impact of their activities Ken Balcomb senior scientist at The Center For Whale Research has actually heard, and seen the damage.

Listen to the OPB interview with Ken Balcomb senior scientist at The Center For Whale Research featured in Candace Calloway Whiting’s article: Hear Ear-splitting Navy Sonar, and Watch the Orca Whales Respond

Please follow this link and read the Navy’s Proposed Plan HERE. Once you have read the proposed action you can then comment on the three deadly and important changes they are seeking. The ability to do pier-side sonar testing and maintenance one of the worst. An increase in sonar, and mines exercises and increase in underwater charges is unacceptable!

Sample Letter:

“I am writing in opposition to the Navy’s proposed expansion of their Northwest Training Complex. I want to begin by opposing pier side sonar testing that would take place in an ESA listed habitat for resident orcas not to mention the many other cetaceans, marine mammals, and ocean life living close to the shorelines. Increasing these tests dock side is out of the question. There is no limit to the damage and deaths it will cause.

I also oppose and increase in underwater charges, increased war games using sonar, and explosion of underwater mines.
“Alternative 1 includes some activities that were not analyzed in previous documents. New activities being considered include:
“Use of new and existing unmanned vehicles and their acoustic sensors, in support of homeland security and anti-terrorism/force protection. This type of training is critical in protecting the nation’s military and civilian harbors, ports and shipping lanes.
Use of 0.50-caliber blanks in Puget Sound in support of force protection training of the Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Security Force.
Addition of a biennial maritime homeland defense mine countermeasure training exercise in Puget Sound and analyzing the amount of time acoustic sensors are used during that event”.
All of the above expansions are unacceptable. I am supporting NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE and a slow departure of the Navy from the Puget Sound area and Pacific Northwest. It’s time to end the Navy’s war on whales”.

COMMENT HERE!!!

Please use the above information and compose your comment now opposing the Navy’s proposed action increasing their deadly activities in the Puget Sound!

PLEASE COMMENT NOW!!!

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Demonstrators Demand The Captive L Pod Orca Lolita Be Retired and Released!


By Kirsten Massebeau

Lolita has performed for 43 years at Miami Seaquarium. Read the Plan for her retirement.

Lolita has performed for 43 years at the Miami Seaquarium. Read the Plan for her retirement.

On October 3, 2013 Barbara Napoles a long time dolphin activist received a call from an Australian news channel about doing a demonstration and interview about Lolita the last L Pod member alive in captivity today. Despite her busy schedule with her popular Facebook page Save the Blood Dolphins Napoles put together and amazing event in less than a week that drew 50 activists including Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin Project/creator of the academy award-winning documentary The Cove, and the media.

Lolita is a subject close to Napoles heart as she grew up in the Miami area where Lolita has performed for 43 years at the Miami Seaquarium. Napoles has attended, and created, many demonstrations for Lolita known as Tokitae in the Puget Sound where the L pod, her family, her mother, sister and other L pod mates still live today. According to Napoles, “I am sure the L Pod is awaiting Lolita’s return. She has performed for 43 years in one of the tiniest tanks on the planet at the Miami Seaquarium doesn’t she deserve to retire?”.

Barbara Napole and Ric O'Barry brainstorming at the Free Lolita Event on October 12, 2013

Barbara Napoles and Ric O’Barry brainstorming at the Free Lolita Demonstration October 10, 2013

The L pod capture on August 8, 1970 took seven young whales for captivity one of which was Lolita. The whales were sold to marine parks around the world. During Lolita’s capture five whales, including four babies had their bellies slit, then filled with rocks, and weighted down with chains and anchors to keep their deaths from coming to the public’s attention. Of the seven whales taken for captivity Lolita is the only L pod orca from the Penn Cove captures that remains alive today. (Source)

Demonstrators pose for a picture. Their message loud and clear let Lolita go home!

Demonstrators pose for a picture. Their message loud and clear let Lolita go home!

On May 24, 2013 the government announced that they would reconsider Lolita’s status as endangered that she has previously been excluded from:

Apr. 24, 2013: We accepted a petition to include the captive killer whale known as Lolita in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of Southern Resident killer whales. We are soliciting scientific and commercial information about Lolita’s status to ensure that our ongoing status review is comprehensive. Acceptance of this petition doesn’t  presuppose any particular outcome. The comment period closes Jun. 28, 2013. See the Federal Register notice and other materials below for more information; or contact Lynne Barre, 206-526-4745. (source)

What would become of Lolita after 43 years in Miami Seaquarium? Her teeth are still good which gives her a fighting chance. There is a proposal and a good one. Many people in the Pacific Northwest and worldwide want to see Lolita released and returned to her pod. The plan can be read here. Isn’t it time that an orca taken from her family so long ago is given a chance to enjoy the rest of her life with her family? Doesn’t she deserve some kind of retribution for the life that was stolen from her all those years ago in Penn Cove.

Taiji Dolphin Hunters Harpoon First Pilot Whale of the Season


By Kirsten Massebeau

First pilot whale landed May 1, 2013 by International Wildlife Investigations

First pilot whale landed May 1, 2013 by International Wildlife Investigations

On May 1, 2013 the Taiji Fisherman  went back to work this time harpooning cetaceans at sea as reported by the International Wildlife Investigations:

1st landing of long finned pilot whale of the season in Taiji.

Event though the infamous dolphin drive hunt season has ended ( will resume on september 1st). On may 1st a new season of coastal whaling started for Taiji Fishermen, the next day the Masakazu Maru captained by Hoge Masashi went out and found this one about 10km offshore of Taiji.

Pay special attention to the marks next to it’s blowhole, this is how it was killed. We lack info on the technique used but “multiple stabbing/harpooning” is unlikely to provoke a quick death.

This long finned pilot whale was about 4.9 meters in length and weighted about  2 tons.

the quota for 28 whales is divided liked this :
– 8 long-finned pilot whale
– 10 Baird’s beaked whale
– 10 false killer whale
and is expected to be fulfilled. (Source)

Follow International Wildlife Investigation on Facebook for more important news on International Wildlife issues.

USGS Woods Hole is Requesting a Permit For Deadly Seismic Testing in The Gulf of Mexico


By Kirsten Massebeau

Stranded whale during seismic testing by Stephen Hambrick

Stranded Whale Photo By Nic Slocum

USGS Woods Hole has requested a permit from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration/National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA/NMFS) to incidentally “take” marine mammals while conducting seismic testing in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) in search of natural gas for future harvesting. The area is densely populated with whales, dolphins and other species of sea life. Woods Hole states:

“Numerous species of marine mammals inhabit the GOM. Several of these species are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA): the sperm, North Atlantic right, humpback, sei, fin, and blue whales, and the West Indian manatee. Other ESA-listed species that could occur in the area are the endangered leatherback, hawksbill, green, and Kemp’s ridley turtles, and the threatened loggerhead turtle”. (Source, Page 1)

Numbers of requested cetacean “Takes” by level B harassment of marine mammals:

  • Odontoceti 
  • Sperm whale: 3
  • Kogia spp. (Pygmy and dwarf sperm whale) 2.1 1 0.62 (0.31)—Pygmy sperm whale 0.44 (0.22)—Dwarf sperm whale 2
  • Small (Mesoplodon and Cuvier’s) beaked whale 3.7 2 3.51 (3.51)—Mesoplodon beaked whale 3.1 (3.1)—Cuvier’s beaked whale 2
  • Killer whale 0.40 0 0 0
  • Short-finned pilot whale 6.3 3 2.65 (0.42) 19
  • False killer whale 2.7 1 4.63 (0.13) 36
  • Melon-headed whale 9.1 4 5.17 (0.18) 118
  • Pygmy killer whale 1.1 0 0 0
  • Risso’s dolphin 10.0 4 0.57 (0.25) 9
  • Bottlenose dolphin 32 
  • Bottlenose dolphin Northern GOM oceanic stock 18
  • Rough-toothed dolphin 6.7 3 0.6 (0.11) 16
  • Fraser’s dolphin 1.9 1 NA (NA) 117
  • Striped dolphin 51.5 23 1.35 (0.69) 45
  • Pantropical spotted dolphin 582.6 259 0.76 (0.76) 259
  • Atlantic spotted dolphin 2.2 1 NA (NA) 15
  • Spinner dolphin 72.6 32 4.98 (1.61) 99
  • Clymene dolphin 45.6 20 1.14 (0.3) 75 (Source Page 16)

Note: There is no way that Woods Hole can guarantee there will be no incidents of injury and mortality.

Seismic Survey

Diagram of a Seismic Survey

The claim that seismic testing does not cause harm provided by Woods Hole is weak and outdated:

“The effects of sounds from air guns could include one or more of the following: tolerance, masking of natural sounds, behavioral disturbance, and at least in theory, temporary or permanent hearing impairment, or non-auditory physical or physiological effects (Richardson et al. 1995; Gordon et al. 2004; Nowacek et al. 2007; Southall et al. 2007). Permanent hearing impairment, in the unlikely event that it occurred, would constitute injury, but temporary threshold shift (TTS) is not an injury (Southall et al. 2007). Although the possibility cannot be entirely excluded, it is unlikely that the project would result in any cases of temporary or permanent hearing impairment, or any significant non-auditory physical or physiological effects. If marine mammals encounter the survey while it is underway, some behavioral disturbance could result, but this would be localized and short-term. As a result of the monitoring and mitigation measures, no marine mammals are expected to be exposed to sounds from the survey at levels causing behavioral disturbance”. (Source Page 16)

Although Woods Hole states the airguns will emit decibels between 160 and 190 dB the air guns are capable of reaching 230dB and can cause hearing damage,bleeding of the brain,behavioral issues,and strandings. The proposed permit would allow Woods Hole to run air guns in the two survey areas non stop for 96 hours at each location.  When a survey was suspended in 2012 in the same area Michael Jasny of Natural Resources Defense Council had this to say: “Imagine dynamite going off in your neighborhood for days, months on end,” said Michael Jasny, a senior policy analyst at the NRDC. That’s the situation these animals are facing.”(Source) Marine mammals depend on their sensitive hearing for survival. Hearing loss for a cetacean can mean inability to function, hunt, navigate and cause death.

By Ocean Conservation Research

By Ocean Conservation Research

Listen the underwater explosion created by an airgun. See the explosion created by just one air-gun.

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.

Everyday more instances of injury and death due to seismic testing are being documented. While almost all oil and gas exploration companies deny harm to marine life can be caused by seismic testing non profit organizations and ocean advocates are compiling proof that in-fact seismic testing is deadly to marine life as can be seen in Peru in April of 2012 where 2800 dolphins washed ashore. Hardy Jones of Blue Voice.org working with Veterinarian Carlos Yaipén’s released these test results taken from viable dolphin tissue samples:

“We found that stranded dolphins had the following signs: a. Bleeding in the middle ear. b. Simple fracture and cracks in the middle ear (periodic) bones.c. Hemorrhage and bubbles in mandibular fat (where dolphins perceive incoming sounds) d. Massive invasion of air bubbles which displaced the normal tissue of vital organs such as lungs, liver, kidney, bladder and blood vessels.e. Pulmonary emphysema: air bubbles, bleeding and massive destruction of lung tissue” (Source) All of these symptoms concur with the effects of seismic testing on cetaceans: “What he has found is evidence of acoustical trauma leading to rapid ascent and decompression syndrome. In other words loud noises, produced repeatedly over a long period of time, startled the dolphins who raced for the surface and incurred what humans call the bends”.(Source)

The sperm whale is just one of the species that will be exposed to seismic sound

The sperm whale is just one of the species that will be exposed to 190-230 dB of explosive sound.

Be a voice for whales and dolphins:  Send your comments objecting to the issuance of a permit, and requesting a public hearing be held before the Marine Mammal Commission. Air guns producing 190 dB blasts underwater, for 96 hours at a time in areas densely populated with sea life is unacceptable. Let them know that their form of monitoring, “look outs” (people looking for marine mammals from the deck of the ship during the survey) is unacceptable as they can only see the surface of the ocean and: 1) while the air gun explosions will be as deep as 2000 meters. 2) Whales and dolphins spend most of their lives underwater

Include the Document Citation: 78 FR 11821

Include the Document Number:2013-03837

You must submit your comments and objections to:

ITP.Goldstein@noaa.gov

You can also send written letters of objection to: P. Michael PayneChief, permits and conservation division, office of protected resources, NMFS,1315 East -West Highway,Silver Spring ,Maryland 20910.  

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Howard Goldstein or Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-427-8401.

Join the Facebook event:

“Deny US Geological Survey NOAA permit for the “Taking”of Marine Mammals”

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

North East Wind Frees Whales


By Kirsten Massebeau

Ariel view of the orca trapped under ice.

Ariel view of the orca trapped under ice.

The Whales trapped for several days in Hudson Bay, Canada under ice are now gone! Apparently the NE wind blew, and a new moon changed the tide moving  the ice, allowing the whales to exit. According to the city Mayor:

Killer Whales Trapped In Hudson Bay Are GONE.

Petah, Mayor of Inukjuak, Quebec just a colleague to let all of us know, what was happening and I quote:

‘We are not worldly people, and our education is not like most… Last night there was a new moon, and the currents in the water was activated and caused an opening all the way to open water. The whales are not trapped, and there is no new breathing hole. It is now up to them to survive, but they are indeed, gone.” (source)

Social Media activists celebrate as they wait for ariel conformation but as of now the whales are gone. This cetacean emergency demonstrates the power of social media to help in emergencies and make change. Many people were ready to spring into action. A big thanks to the people of Inukjuak, Quebec for reaching out for the orcas and Kasco Marine Inc. for coming forward and volunteering to help the whales.

Update 2:30 Pacific

Final update on the Orcas from Kenneth Rust of Kastco Marine: Mayor says they took a twin otter up and covered grid 30 miles by 40 miles. Confirming what scouts found this morning, that a large path and many holes, some the size of football fields, were created. He feels 100% confident that the whales were able to exit the area. He is very greatful to all who stood ready to help with the effort and feels better prepared to address this in the future. Thanks to everyone from the Inukjuak community to the online community for their support.