Opposition to Sonar Indian Ocean

By Edward Johnson                                                       Photo provided by KPBS

Another permit for taking of marine mammals will undoubtly be approved by the Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,and the National Marine Fisheries Service(NMFS). We made a post asking others to submit similiar objections on this issue. https://championsforcetaceans.com/2011/12/13/u-s-navy-surtass-lfa-program-and-the-taking-of-marine-mammals/ This issue will not go away any time soon and will only happen when and if conclusive scientific evidence is submitted proving that the danger of this technology is outweighed by the risks to the marine community.The following is my letter submitted to NOAA in opposition to the use of multiple air guns abbreviated (SURTASS-LFA) off South Africa and listed as being in the Indian Ocean.

Department of Commerce

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration                                                                                                                   Michael Payne Chief of Permits Education and Conservation                                                                                     National Marine Fisheries Service

RE: RIN 0648-XA792Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Physical                                                                                                                                            Oceanographic Studies in the Southwest Indian Ocean

January -February 2012 Specified Activities; Physical Oceanographic Studies in the Southwest Indian Ocean,January through February, 2012

RE: Opposition to RIN 0648–XA792

In Sept of this year I opposed RIN 0648–XA507,  a similar request to conduct sonar testing in the Pacific Ocean between the Hawaiian Islands and Guam.  My intent here is to again reiterate concerns as well as add additional challenges that I have identified since that submission. The Dept. of Defense in accordance with what I assume is the MMPA has previously agreed to certain limitations regarding testing SURTASS LFA in zones adjacent to continental landmasses which I will categorize as continental shelves. The limit that has been established is 20 km or 12 miles. The mire fact that testing is no longer conducted in shallower waters is in fact an admission of the potential danger to marine mammals in these near shore environments. Previously, the navy has admitted to the wrongful death, based on traumatization of marine mammals,’ in cases that include Puget Sound and the Bahamas documented by Ken Balcomb. Granted these where mid-range frequency sonar systems and at higher decibel level sonar deployments but the proof has resulted in less invasive equipment, less area for conducting testing, and less deadly outcomes with living communities within all oceans, seas and bays.  A further indication of the potential compromising of the well-being of marine animals has been the establishment of some 20 worldwide marine reserves which are presently protected from activates such as those being advocated by this particular request.  These 20 global reserves admittedly are a small step, looking at the globe, 20 dots is hardly discernible when considering the vastness of all oceans and seas, this is really a minimal effort. What is significant is the admission that a need exists to preserve habitat that might be otherwise affected by adverse anthropomorphic activities in this case sonar testing.

Verification of events that have occurred in pelagic zones, simply identified as open oceans and beyond continental shelf zones, occurred last month in the Mediterranean Sea in which whales (Cuvier’s beaked whales)unknown to this area and considered pelagic stranded themselves in some cases and others washed ashore dead. After undergoing necropsies the determined cause of death was similar to what had previously occurred in the Canary Islands. http://aeinews.org/archives/1698/comment-page-1#comment-429 . The point that just because we think something is true does not mean it is the absolute truth.  The implication here is it was thought that pelagic zones adjacent to shallower water would not funnel sound from deeper to swallow. Based on what was reported the sound was heard at waters edge by those involved in rescue attempts during the actual stranding. Here is the actual quote from that article, ” rescuers in two separate locations during the initial strandings report hearing a “whistling” noise at 10-15 second intervals; it’s quite likely that this sound was what drove the animals ashore. While rare, this is not the first time that humans above the water have heard underwater sound transmissions during stranding events.”   The actual video with Ken Balcomb is included here because of the factual presentation of what really happens. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=O9gDk29Y_YY  Granted events such as these will no longer happen because of the restrictions on sonar in Puget Sound as well as the Bahamas. However as I have mentioned the new occurrence in the Mediterranean resulting in the deaths’ of Culviers beaked whales and the fact this testing was conducted in pelagic waters bring new questions on this technology. Specifically bathymetric parameters must be considered even in deeper ocean waters adjacent to land masses. At this time I have no knowledge if such conditions are found within the identified areas of Southwest Indian Ocean where this research will take place. It would be most important to postpone this and all permits of this nature until the reoccurrence of similar events can be eliminated.

The following are lifted directly from the permit application and have been selected as points of contention that deserve diametric comments.

“Acoustic stimuli (i.e., increased underwater sound) generated during the operation of the air-gun array may have short-term behavioral disturbance for marine mammals in the survey area.”

My Comment: The wording,  “may have short-term behavioral disturbance,” is greatly oversimplified based on the preponderance of evidence claiming the opposite. The mire posting of the story from the Mediterranean last month provides factual evidence that seismic sounds most certainly can cause behavioral changes. I previous have mentioned Ken Balcomb and have found the following statement which too me expose the real danger of LFA.

“Therefore, based on two significant mass mortality events (Greece and the Bahamas) the body of evidence indicates that not only is resonance with LFA and sonar frequencies a problem for beaked whales, the sound pressure level of 180 dB RL is demonstrably not safe, and it is probably not safe for other cetaceans (two minke whales and a dolphin also stranded in the Bahamas incident). Aversion and/or physiological damage evidently and repeatedly occurs in beaked whales at levels of somewhere between 150 and 180 dB RL (probably nearer the former) of either low frequency or mid-frequency sonar signals in the whales=92 normal habitat. Clearly, the impact of high-powered rapid-rise acoustic energy (such as sonar), particularly at airspace resonance frequency, on these animals is occurring at significant distances well beyond the current mitigation distance (1-2.2 km) used by the Navy. These impact distances can be easily calculated, and they are more like 20 to 100 kilometers, and more well over the horizon of shipboard observers.” Copied from http://www.acousticecology.org/oceanlfasbalcomb.html   Here again we not only have proof that damage will occur but well beyond distances attributed as safe. At some point the applicant insinuates that the height of the boat above the water line (42 ft.) will allow for save observation of approaching whales. Based on the above the listed distance at which 160 db, will be heard is in fact more than a factor between 10 at the least to as much as 50 greater than the distance damaging sound waves will be heard . What the Navy needs to do is build ships with observation towers basically 10 to 50 times as high. This is ridiculous so this entire premise should be retracted or eliminated.

“Take is not expected to result from the use of the multi-beam echo-sounder (MBES), subbottom profiler (SBP), or ADCPs, due to the narrow and directional acoustic beam field of the MBES, the attenuation rate of high-frequency sound in seawater, and the motility of free-ranging marine mammals.”

My Comment: The term motility implies free swimming , to move spontaneously and actively. Again this is greatly oversimplified based on the preponderance of evidence claiming the opposite. Within your own documentation I have found that some species of whales will avoid those areas ensonified and in other species stop communicating when encountering ensonification.

I appreciate that individuals have the opportunity to make comments on projects that will impact marine populations. In this particular case the ocean has been contaminated by sounds which have interfered with the ability of sea creatures to survive. NOAA must stop awarding permits to the U.S. Navy and Ocean Research companies, that are injecting into the ocean, intrusive sound waves into an already confusing and damaging array of anthropogenic created wave forms.

This was submitted on Dec 21, 2011 just prior to the deadline.

U.S.Navy Surtass LFA program and the taking of Marine Mammals

By Stephen Hambrick

A Dead Humpback Whale That Stranded

Send all comments on latest permit RIN 0648–XA792 request to use sonar/air guns  to NOAA e mail at ITPCody@noaa.gov.org 

The U.S. Navy has recently applied for a permit authorizing the incidental taking of up to 94 species of Marine Mammals over the next five year period beginning in August 2012 thru August 2017,being incidental to its testing of low frequency sonar under it’s Surtass program.70 Cetaceans and 24 Pinnipeds during what it calls military readiness activities.The Navy has stated that it will not exceed 180 decibels of sonar ping,in prior years and over the last 50 years the acceptable level of decibels was classified at 120 to comply with safety issues regarding Marine Mammals.The Navy’s application for permit with the NMFS states that it will not use this sonar testing within 12 miles of any coastline,and that such tests will not be performed within the Arctic Ocean or Antarctica,or any biologically recognized breeding areas of Marine Mammals.

The Navy will operate these exercises in the Atlantic,Pacific,and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.Outlying within the permit application,the Navy states that the probability of taking Marine Mammals through levl “A” harassment is at 0.001 percent,yet because it is not scientifically predicted to attain a rating of 0 percent,that is the basis for requesting level “A”.

Whales and other Marine Mammals rely exclusively on hearing for their basic life functions.Such as orientation and communication,feeding,finding pod members and calfs,how they mate with each other,and how they navigate the seas.

When sounds emit making more noise than a jet aircraft fills their ears,the results can be tragic and deadly.Whether the sounds emit from air guns used for oil exploration or from ships and submarines emitting sonar,Man made sounds can drown out noises Marine Mammals rely upon for their very survival,causing injury and death.At 140 decibel sound ping as far away as 300 miles from it’s source,The intensity impact on Marine Mammals has been shown to be 100 times the recorded statistics to alter the behavior of Marine Mammals.The current Navy application for permit requests NMFS to approve up to 180 decibels ping. ” There is no question and has been scientifically proven,that sonar injuries kill whales and dolphins” stated Senior Attorney Joel Reynolds of the National Resource Defense Council. Many of the Whales affected by the testing have suffered Bleeding of the brain,ears,and other tissues and have caused large bubbles within their organs.Scientists also believe that mid frequency sonar blasts drive certain whales to change diving patterns that are harmful to their bodies,further causing severe injury or death.Naval sonar has also proven to be detrimental to feeding and other behaviors causing whales and dolphins to panic and flee their habitat. The U.S. Navy has admitted that it estimates increased sonar training will significantly harm Marine Mammals more than 10 million times during a five year period.

In 2006,after a Surtass exercise,more than 200 whales stranded on Hawaii beaches,and in 2000,when the Navy conducted testing in the Bahamas,13 whales from 4 separate species were stranded on beaches,The Navy denied responsibility initially,But a federal investigation revealed that Navy mid frequency sonar was indeed the cause of this stranding.Directly following testing in this area,the populace of the Cuvier’s beaked whale nearly disappeared from their habitat,which led scientists to believe they had either fled or died at sea as a result.Similar mass strandings have also occurred in the Canary Islands,Greece,Madeira,U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii as a result of low frequency sonar testing by the U.S.Navy.And also as a direct result,many calfs have been separated from their Mothers.

In 1998 The SRS conducted research off Hawaii under a permit issued by NMFS, Numerous reports from whale watch captains and observers stated that Humpback whales fled the area during testing,And it was also reported that a Humpback whale calf,and dolphin calf appeared and were separated from their mothers.A seperated Melon Whale calf also appeared abandoned during this testing.When this program originated,the Navy conducted secret testing of LFAS known to be harmful to cetaceans,without filing for permits and violating environmental protection laws.When the program caught the attention of the general public and the national resource defense council,the Navy only then conducted minimum research studies and only concentrated on a few of the effects that sonar had on a limited number of oceanic species. When adverse effects became public knowledge,which led to litigation and a congressional call to suspend the program,the Navy suspended funding further research.The NMFS and the Navy cooperated with Dr.Peter Tyack of the Woods -Hole Oceanographic institute,to disguise the nature of the program, and permitted research to be conducted outside of U.S.territorial waters,and limited mandatory reports of such research to once a year,ensuring that individuals and organizations opposing the program would not have the benefit of reviewing such reports.LFAS Surtass started off as an unlawful and classified secret program,and the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute collaborated with the Navy and NMFS in keeping the program at a secret level to avoid further public exposure.

Latest proposed permit:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric
RIN 0648–XA792
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to
Specified Activities; Physical
Oceanographic Studies in the
Southwest Indian Ocean,January through February, 2012

Take Action!

Comments must be submitted by Dec. 21, 2011

You may voice your objections and enter your commentary,and or request a public hearing be conducted before the granting of said permit.The permit application and access to public commentary please write to : P.Michael Payne -Chief of permits,conservation and education division-National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West highway,Silver Spring,Maryland.20910-3225 or e mail at ITPCody@noaa.gov.org

Action Alert!! Whales and Dolphins Threatened by Seismic Testing!

By Kirsten Massebeau and Edward Johnson meika observes stranded pilot whales
Picture by Caitlin and Greg’s Mad Adventure Flickr

On August 29th, 2011 the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will decide if they want to grant the Scripts Institution of Oceanography and others, a Incidental Harassment Authorization to impact or take up to 19 ocean species of whales and dolphins. Only last year NOAA granted the Navy a Incidental Harassment Authorization to impact 2.2 million marine mammals in the Pacific Ocean with the expansion of their Northwest Training Complex. Despite the protest of people living on our coastlines, and around the world the permit was granted.

From November to December of 2011 Scripts Institution of Oceanography and others plan to engage in seismic testing in the western tropical Pacific Ocean. For two months the cetaceans and all sea life for 100’s of miles will be exposed to this ear shattering sound. The seismic testing ships use air guns that are dropped into the water and towed while omitting continuous bursts of air that are bounced off of the sea floor. The magnitude of the sound created by the air guns can be lethal to cetaceans who already have to live with the sounds of man’s invasive activities in the ocean, “Shipping is the most omnipresent source of anthropogenic noise in the sea, though not nearly as loud as sonar or airguns; overall, shipping is blamed for a 10-20dB increase in the background noise in the sea throughout the world since 1950 (which translates to a 100x to 1000x increase in the intensity of background noise).  Meanwhile, seismic surveys utilizing airguns create noise nearly as loud as the military sonars, but continuing every 10-15 seconds for days or weeks at a time”. (Acoustic Ecology Institute, Air guns, August 7, 2005).

Humpback Whale Seismic Survey Interaction (A humpback whale trapped behind a ship during a seismic survey in the Bay of Bengal) RJWOODCOCK, YOUTUBE

The Scripts Institute of Oceanography claim this survey is to determine the earths crust during the Jurassic period, approximately 145 to 180 million years ago. (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fr/fr76-45518.pdf).
By coincidence mapping for oil can be done in the same fashion although there are other options. Regardless of their intentions when will the impact of sound on cetaceans and all ocean life be weighed against what is to be gained. Should we destroy our future on this planet to learn about the past?

Listen To The Power of the Seismic Survey!

A Seismic Survey in the Bay of Bengal kayacy2005,Youtube

Their permit states this is a level B harassment, and that most likely, no whales or dolphins will be killed by their blasts of sound. NOAA is allowing the public to comment on the issue. NOAA’s permit process is very elusive making it almost impossible to make a comment. It seems they really don’t want to hear our voices but they must. We need to let NOAA know that this is unacceptable. The impact is too great to whales, dolphins and other marine life that depend on sound transmission in the ocean and their sonar to navigate and hunt for food. Noise reduction is essential if we are to save our oceans.

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration    Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Western Tropical Pacific Ocean,  November to December, 2011  SUMMARY: NMFS has received an application from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting a low-energy marine geophysical (i.e., seismic) survey in the western tropical Pacific Ocean, November to December, 2011. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS isrequesting comments on its proposal to issue an IHA to SIO to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, 19 species of marine mammals during the specified activity.  

Comments and information must be received no later than August 29, 2011.

Address: howard.goldstein@noaa.gov

Here is a sample letter. You can just cut and paste it into an email.

I am writing in regards to Scripts Institution of Oceanography’s request for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting a low-energy marine geophysical (seismic) survey in the western tropical Pacific Ocean,  November thru December of 2011.

Last year you gave the Navy a permit to harass or take 2.2 million marine mammals with the expansion of the Northwest Naval Training Complex. Since that permit was given for the five year period several fatal incidents have occurred as evidenced by the explosion of five dolphins, and multiple strandings along our coastlines along with many we are not even aware of.

I urge you not to give the Scripts Institution of Oceanography this permit to do seismic testing. The cetaceans of the western tropical Pacific Ocean already have so many obstacles to their survival from the impacts of pollution, sonar, fishing nets, ship collisions, and noise produced by ships. Isn’t it time we started reducing sound pollution in our oceans not adding to it. The whales and dolphins are essential to our oceans health and safety. Is learning about the past worth destroying our future. Without our oceans this planet will die. Please take my comment seriously and do the right thing, do not give SIO the permit.



The Rising From “The Cove”

By Jaideep Sarkar

by Jaideep Sarkar

Around a year ago…

There is nothing more fun but to spend a Sunday afternoon with  some beers and a good movie. Well, not for everybody maybe, but for the ardent Homer Simpson fan, it is bliss. So I went over to the local grocery store and  grabbed myself a six-pack and thought of picking a movie from the Red Box station  at the store. Not too many choices were available and I picked up ‘The Cove’ absolutely not knowing what was coming my way.

Way down memory lane…

While growing up, I often traveled to the Andaman and Nicobar islands to visit my grandmother and cousins who lived there.We would often make the journey by ship and when the seas were on our side, it would take us 3 nights and 4 days to reach Port Blair, the capital. While most of my family suffered from sea-sickness and spent most of their time in the cabins fighting their nausea, I used to cherish each and every moment of the rolling and pitching journey. I never felt seasick and would spend most of my day on the deck, holding the rails and watching the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal. Nothing is more  humbling, but to see this gigantic mass of water, sometimes glistening, as the rays of the sun kiss its surface and at other times turning into white foam as the waves crash on its surface. The beauty of the ship creating white foam every time it cut through the black waters and the melody that those crashing waters create with every forward movement was a surreal experience for me. But what kept me going for hours and hours on the deck was the anticipation to spot a fish in the ocean and if I were lucky, maybe, spot a dolphin. There is something insanely exciting when one sees an animal in its own habitat. Maybe because then, the animal has its sense of freedom and the sense of freedom brings out the best in it. Oftentimes, I would play a “spotting” game with other co-passengers in the same age group as myself. We would simply stand out on the deck and try spotting the inhabitants of this mystifying ocean. “There is something”, a spotter would shriek out and all the curious eyes would turn to a  particular direction, simply to find out that it was a mere illusion or some rubble in the sea. But one day, on one such voyage, things changed. While we were having our breakfast in the dining halls of the “M.V Harshavardhan”, the  captain’s voice came blaring out of the P.A system : “Passengers, there is a school of dolphins on the starboard side of the ship”. Commotion ensued when everyone decided at once to catch a glimpse of the beloved creatures in the  wild. I rushed to the balcony of the dining hall hoping to catch a glimpse of these creatures for the first time. And there they were. A little distance away, three or four dolphins were swimming without fear, without malice, without harmful thoughts, without complexities, without issues. Just disappearing under water and then jumping back up again, in complete harmony, as if, trying to entice the onlookers to join them in their enormous playground. That was my first glimpse of the dolphins.

(I didn’t have a video camera to shoot my experiences but for  my readers, about what I experienced, I found a youtube video to give a feel of
what it was like.)

Dolphins as seen in the wild.

Dolphins off the Catalina Island 2 provided by WaterDogE’s Channel, You Tube

Back to a year ago…

That lazy Sunday afternoon I saw ‘The Cove’. And I was disturbed. The very idea of having a beer and enjoying a movie was vanishing as the movie progressed and I was filled with an amalgam of emotions fluctuating between anguish for the creatures, being inspired by the courage shown by the crew and cast of the movie, yet utterly frustrated and angry towards the ignorant Fisherman’s Union of Taiji. The dolphins I had seen in the wild when I was younger were now frantic. They were  not swimming playfully, but struggling to save their lives. They were not chirping in joy, but squeaking in pain. Yet, they were in their own playground – the immense ocean, which itself had turned red and was not able to hide the  brutality of the merciless killings even in its vastness.

Dolphins coralled and killed. Photos provided by Vantive Foundation, Flickr

‘The Cove’ stirred me from within because on one side it showed the “coldness” of the human heart – the deceitful trickery that lures the innocent dolphins into a ring and then mercilessly hacks at them till the oceans turn red. But on the other side it showed the courage and passion that the same humans show towards saving another species. For me, regardless of the disturbing behavior of some humans, the movie still gave  hope that there will be someone from amongst us mortals who will stand up and say “NO” when something wrong is happening. And something wrong is sure happening. Its happening in ‘Taiji’ and probably many other parts of the world.

                                               Photo provided by Elyce Feliz Flickr

For those of you, who haven’t yet seen ‘The Cove’ I

have added a link to the documentary here so you can watch it.


In the present…

Since I watched ‘The Cove’ I have always had the desire to participate in the cause to help dolphins and whales. A few months ago, I met the founders of the Champions for Cetaceans and thought of expressing myself through a common forum that is fighting towards the same cause. As I am writing my first blog, the International Whaling Commission is preparing to meet for its 63rd annual meeting from July 4th to 14th in the Channel Islands. Unfortunately, the IWC currently does not regulate the catches of smaller species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, known as the ‘small cetaceans’. Well, that is a problem. And if nothing else, such rules allow for the brutalities towards these species that have and continue to happen  in Taiji. There is an immediate need for an international body to help conserve and manage these species. The IWC can certainly step up to that role and help save the whales, dolphins and other endangered ‘small cetaceans’. I found a wonderful article on examiner.com that brings forward the issue of saving whales and dolphins and how the IWC can play an important role.

The above article also led me to a social media group Save Misty the Dolphin who are also fighting towards the same cause to protect the dolphins. The group has actually issued a letter to the IWC secretariat and  encourages concerned citizens around the world to join the cause and submit similar letters. I am sure going to send one and it would be of great help to these beautiful creatures if you could do the same.

In a few days, when we get together with friends and family on the fourth of July and watch the fireworks to celebrate our independence, I hope we think just once for the dolphins and think about their independence from human brutality. A small action on our part can make a big difference and possibly let these creatures be safe, secure and free in their environment. Lets hope we can change things so the IWC considers including ‘small cetaceans’ in its list of endangered species. Lets ensure that in future there will be a child  who will be equally mesmerized as I was by seeing a dolphin swim freely in the sea.

For reference, below is the letter that Save Misty the  Dolphin is sending to the IWC secretariat. Join the cause and help protect the dolphins!!

Dr. Simon Brockington
The International
Whaling Commission
The Red House,
135 Station
Cambridgeshire CB24 9NP, UK.
Tel: +44
(0) 1223 233 971
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 232 876
email: secretariat@iwcoffice.org

Dear Dr. Brockington,
As the dates of the 63rd meeting of the International Whaling Commission approach, July 4-14, 2011, in the Channel  Islands, we are writing to urge the IWC to take strong and decisive action to fully protect whales AND dolphins.  The slaughter of whales and dolphins for commercial, scientific or cultural purposes is inhumane and highly inconsistent with worldwide efforts to protect our planet’s oceans. Numerous reports have proven that whale meat is highly toxic with mercury. Furthermore, the March 11 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan resulted in radioactive water being dumped into the sea. According to a June 15 article published by the Associated Press, two Minke whales caught off of the coast of Japan were found to have traces of radioactive cesium. In the interest of public health, it is time to end the international consumption of whale and dolphin meat.
Following the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, the IWC has issued Japan, Norway and Iceland  permits for scientific whaling. We strongly question the merits of this practice. Credible researchers around the world have managed to find ways to study whales without the use of lethal methodologies. Additionally, the fact  that the whale meat from the alleged “research” is sold commercially further underscores the need to end research whaling. According to Darren Kindley, sides of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, “Japan’s 20 years of “scientific whaling” has delivered thousands of dead whales and next to no useful knowledge of the whales they “study”. The meat is packaged and sold in the fish markets in Japan. This has more to do with sushi than science.”
Looking ahead to your upcoming meeting, we also note the questionable history of the government of Japan with regards to buying votes from international delegates to support the Japanese whaling agenda. The June 13, 2010 Sunday Times investigative article, “Flights, girls and cash buy Japan Whaling votes”

uncovered a wealth of improprieties conducted by representatives of the Japanese delegation. We request that investigations be undertaken and that appropriate and harsh sanctions be levied against the guilty parties. Such behavior simply should NOT be allowed within the confines of an international regulatory body.
Having observed the annual Taiji dolphin drive hunt from September 1, 2010 to the close of the season in March 2011, we furthermore call on the IWC to afford much needed protections to dolphins. The drive fishery method employed by
the Taiji Fisheries Union is among the most cruel practices known to mankind. Like whales, dolphins are intelligent beings. They live in pods and nurse their young. We have witnessed pods of dolphins herded into the cove and then slowly and painfully slaughtered over the course of many hours. Calves swim in the blood of their mothers and fathers. This nightmare simply must end. We call on the members of the 63rd International Whaling Commission to fully PROTECT all whales and dolphins. The time to END whaling and dolphin hunting on planet Earth is NOW.

Nuclear Power vs. Marine Mammal Sustainability

By Edward Johnson
A nuclear power plant damaged during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The authorities in Japan say that the damage done at the plants may include a partial meltdown on the reactors.
Today’s news proclaims that thankfully favorable winds are safely taking all airborne nuclear plant bye products away from land and out to sea. In my previous blog we asked for a time of healing, on that score nothing has changed. However since Champions for Cetaceans originated out of our passionate concern over marine mammals, we now rise on their behalf.  What remains in harm’s way, which includes our aircraft carriers, spending their nuclear power to evade deadly radioactive fallout, is the ocean itself. The wealth of this planet would be little without the ocean, its creatures, our source of food and most of the oxygen we breathe.  Our own origins can be traced to the sea and as I long ago learned, “Ontology recapitulates phylogeny,” or the history a given species(ontology) repeats the species which it  preceded(phylogeny}. Fifty million years ago, what we today recognize as marine mammals were terrestrial, living on land.  Slowing but surely they realized the benefits of water and the enormous bounty it could provide. In this they have developed capacities which are superior to humans their mammalian brethren.

I have a long history of opposing nuclear power and the events of the past few days have only reconfirmed that position.  My beliefs are based on the following considerations: 1) Small is Beautiful and they are not. In that matter we as a society are way too unarmored by instant gratification. Basically these nuclear driven plants split atoms with the release of a huge amount of energy which boils water and the steam turns turbines resulting in electricity. These large plants employ relatively few people and are owned by wealthy corporations that control the market place. On this day would venture a guess that these industrial giants have flooded the floors of Congress with money and resources to keep their programs alive. If you believe that bigger, faster, sooner is desirable then nuclear we go…but not me. 2)  When these plants malfunction based on some form of demise whether it is human operational error, inferior design, terrorists instigation, aging equipment, or natural disaster, we the people are responsible and will incur all recovery costs relative to damages and destruction. Lloyds of London the ultimate insurer of questionable undertakings, no longer will write policies and cover liability. In this country a growing portion of these nuclear facilities our owned by multi-national corporations, and they will walk the plank leaving our government responsible when disaster strikes. 3)  How much of our precious water can we allow to be wasted while these mega corporations continue to consume this commodity in ever increasing amounts? They use water from aquifers, streams, or oceans as if they were theirs and have little regard for the consequences to creatures that inhabit this planet. You can argue that certain restrictions are in place but only in degree. 4) Radiation and contamination of all places but particularly the sea and our mammalian brethren are at risk. The issue of radiation can be well documented by looking at what happened to the people of Japan following World War II. We are talking long terms, as mutations develop based on exposure to varying amounts of radioactively produced alpha & beta particles and gamma rays.  These extremely short and energy laden particles and waves pass right through living tissue be it diatom, embryo, human check cell, or marine mammal. The genetic code within cells is the recipient, and helter skelter can describe the resulting outcome. Mutations have made a significant contribution to the evolvement of living things, but intense radiation being evoked by today’s Japanese nuclear meltdown  will have tragic cellular outcomes and must be avoided.

At this moment our own Nuclear Energy Regulating Commission is considering the issuance of licenses to continue the operation of plants that were destined to retire. The most affected Japanese nuclear facility was/is scheduled for retirement within this calendar year, you are witness to the outcome. Please join me in opposing all re-licensing attempts. Encourage President Obama to better regulation, and the eventual closure of all nuclear power facilities in the United States.

By Kirsten Johnson

The pilot whale is the most gentle and trusting of the Cetaceans and yet the Faeroe Islanders slaughter these gentle souls by the 100’s. Each summer pilot whale migrate past the Faroe Islands. The unlucky pods are spotted and then driven into shallow coves where the local people slaughter the whales. “Grindadráp” is the name used for this traditional killing. This is not commercial whaling, in fact they  are non-commercial and are organized on a community level; anyone can participate. The hunters first surround the pilot whales with a wide semicircle of boats. The boats then drive the pilot whales slowly into a bay or to the bottom of a fjord. Once the whales are stranded the men rush into the water, secure the whales by putting a large hook in their sensitive blow holes and then begin the killing.

Don’t the Faeroe Islanders realize this is 2011. Today the meat is known to be toxic, and unhealthy for the entire community. In addition,  cetaceans are very intelligent creatures, with complex social families and systems of communication.

We must urge the Faorese government that it is in their best interests to end the “grindadráp”.
Take Action:
Contact The Prime Minister of The Faroe Islands Office and the Faroes Board of Tourism. Urge them to stop killing pilot whales before it is too late. Remind them that the meat is tainted with mercury. Let them know that we you will boycott travel to the Faroe Islands. In addition, boycott all cold water seafood and products originating from the Faroes until they stop killing, and selling the flesh of cetaceans.
Minister Prime Kaj Leo Johannesen
p.o. box 64
FO-110 Torshavan
Teli-+ 298-306-000
email: info@tinganes.fo
The Faroe Islands Board of Tourism
Bryggjubakki 12
P.O box 118
Fo 110 Tórshavn
Tel +298 306100
Fax +298 306105
Please take the time to email, call, or even write a hand written letter. It will take more time as The Faroe Government does not have easy contact information. We know that is a way to silence our comments, so let’s take the extra time.

If you wish to write to the Danish Prime Minister’s Office, we suggest that you send an e-mail to the main e-mail address;stm@stm.dk. Your mail will then be forwarded to the relevant area or employee.

You can also write to our postal address, which is:

The Prime Minister’s Office
Prins Jørgens Gård 11
1218 Copenhagen K

How Champions for Cetaceans Began

By Kirsten Massebeau

During the last week of October 2010 I was vacationing in Arcata, California where I picked up a local paper called, “Humboldt”. In the paper was an article about the Navy’s plan to  expand their Northwest Training Complex on the  California, Oregon, and Washington Coastline. The article went onto say that the navy had applied for a permit to harass and take  11.7 million marine mammals. I was absolutely horrified! What came to mind was all these gentle, beautiful creatures have so much against them in our modern world. So many countries still persist with heartless murder of creatures we someday may be able to communicate with.  From “The Cove” in Taiji Japan, Iceland, the Japanese in the  Antarctic, and the Danish on the Faroe  Islands massacre Cetaceans don’t have a chance to survive on planet earth. And now the Navy is going to increase its use of  Sonar, and underwater laser that will literally crush a whales brain, and shatter a dolphins ear drums until he or she can no longer navigate or hunt, hence death, starvation, or a fishing net they can’t  navigate away from.

With all this new information I contacted my Dad Environmental Ed. As a Champion for issues related to our oceans and their wildlife I knew he would jump  right on board. When I returned home to Cannon Beach Dad and I approached several groups hoping to get them involved. At that point we had hoped NOAA would extend the conversation period and reconsider giving the Navy a permit to kill our Cetaceans and other sea life. Unfortunately NOAA closed the discussion period and gave the Navy their permit to kill, harass anyone or thing that gets in the way of their war games in our oceans. We decided at that point that helping Cetaceans was going to be a long-term commitment hence the creation of this site.   It is for the people of the sea who forever try to make friends with man that we have committed ourselves to this path. It is for them we take on this challenge as their Champions, and take an oath to continue to fight for their lives, and survival.



Ed’s Daughter