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

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 or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.

March 7th Cape Cod Dolphin Stranding Correlates with Atlantic Naval Activities

By Kirsten Massebeau

As the stranding of dolphins continues on Cape Cod’s, Well Fleet so do the correlations with Naval activites in the Atlantic Ocean. It was reported that dolphins stranded on March 7th 2012. “The rash of strandings of short-beaked common dolphins along the Cape Cod Bay shoreline in the past month is rare for the decade, but marine mammal specialists cautioned Monday that in the longer view, it might be perfectly normal”.Again, just as in the months of January and February Naval activity is taking place in the Atlantic. Even government Funded IFAW Katie Moore who has denied Naval involvement despite evidence of Naval activity can no longer deny the possibility of sound being the source of these tragic deaths along the Atlantic Coastline, ”

Moore said she couldn’t rule out possible connections between the strandings and acoustic disruptions in the ocean or climate change or other human-caused factors.

“We don’t have that single answer,” she said. “We want to look into every possible cause.”

So why the denial Cape Cod? Where is the advocacy for the dolphins and whales who are having to contend with an aggressive Naval program that is only expanding. Why is this allowed to continue? Many people seem unaware that NOAA has signed permits for the Navy to “take” huge numbers of dolphins and whales as “incidental” to sonar, underwater detonations, and other Wartime activities:

This letter of Authorization is just for the Atlantic ocean alone!

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 ) –
(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

How are these numbers acceptable. Up to 21,2212 common dolphins can be “taken” meaning killed or harassed by the U.S. Navy. What does this mean for dolphins? Each year the death and destruction will increase as sonar becomes more powerful and as the U.S. Navy continues to increase the use.

Why do government funded scientists and marine mammals specialists seem to be looking the other way when it come to the Navy? Could it be all in the name of science. It seems because this is a new area of study government funded some scientists are clamoring to get in on the data and studies.

‘A lot that we can learn’

Scientists typically advocate the rescue of marine mammals in distress, even if they are not endangered as a total population, because as humans “we value being humane to animals in need,” Zagzebski said. “There’s a lot that we can learn. They’re telling us what’s going in the ocean, in that ecosystem, and that’s an ecosystem that we depend on.”

On the West Coast, the study of stranded California sea lions and common dolphins in the late 1990s led to a better understanding of a public health risk from a harmful algae bloom, Zagzebski said. On the East Coast, a current study of how marine mammals handle deep diving could help shed light on how humans might survive in deep waters.

“It’s amazing work,” she said.
How could anyone call this amazing? This video was taken in 2003. Imagine how advanced sonar is today, louder with pings traveling farther.Thanks to scientists on the West Coast dedicated to saving cetaceans from sonar control the Navy’s sonar activities will not be swept under the rug!

Is the suffering of dolphins and whales from these sonar exercises worth the “data”. Is the trade off worth it? Come on world open your eyes to the terrible suffering. Together we can silence deadly sonar!
Please take a moment and contact Jim Levy in who has signed these terrible Letters of Authorization for the Navy to “take” dolphins and whales incidental to sonar use. Let him know we will not accept the increased use of sonar by the Navy! We believe homeland security is important but not when it is causing such suffering in our ocean cousins. Request information on any upcoming permits for sonar that he has not authorized!

Join us as we fight to silence sonar and air-guns before it destroys all the whales and dolphins in the ocean!

Follow the link to find out about sonar and the Navy’s activities in the Atlantic Ocean during the months of January and February 2012: