Naval Exercises Possible Cause of Florida Pilot Whale Strandings

By Kirsten Massebeau and Barbara Napoles

On Tuesday December 3rd  National Park Services found a pod of approximately 51 pilot whales stranded on the edge of the Florida Everglades in shallow waters near Highland Point. They immediately notified NOAA fisheries. On Wednesday December 4th rescuers and scientists arrived on  to assess the situation and attempt to move the pilot whales to deeper water. Rescuers and scientists attempted to use a technique involving sound called  “Oikomi” used by the dolphin hunters of Taiji to herd dolphins to the shallow waters of Hatakejiri Bay, know as “The Cove” where they are slaughtered and captured for the marine parks and aquariums. The banger boats create a semi-circle around the dolphins. They then drop metal poles into the water that they bang on creating a moving wall of sound (source) “On Wednesday, efforts to herd the surviving whales out to sea by forming a semi-circle of boats and making noise by hitting chains on the side and revving the engines did not work”.(Source)

“Of the 51 whales originally stranded, 11 have died, and 5 went missing overnight Wednesday”.(source)

Thursday December 5th rescuers and scientist returned to Highland Point. The remaining 41 whales had left the area: “By Thursday morning, the pilot whales were not in their initial stranding site. As of 11:45am, Thursday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted three separate pods of approximately 35 whales spread over 1,000 yards (4 nautical miles) seaward of the Seminole Point/Plover Key area (about 9 miles north of previous stranding location). 15 boats were used to again, and did push the whale 10-15 miles out to deeper water approximately 15 feet deep. “The team was unable to locate the remaining 5 whales from the original pod sighting”.(Source)

Friday morning bought more bad news as two whales were seen swimming in 2-3 feet of water off Plover Key nine miles North of the deceased whales found the day prior. In addition,”Seven whales are free swimming in 12-14 feet of water, Southwest of Plover Key. The larger group of 24 whales has not been relocated”. (source)

Many people are wondering why and how these deep water whales stranded on the shallow shelf of the Gulf Basin with some whales more compromised than others. Pilot whales are known to be deep divers that stay far from shallow waters: “They feed primarily on squid, but they may also feed on octopus and fish, all from moderately deep water of 1000 feet (305 m) or more. When they are swimming and probably looking for food, pilot whales form ranks that can be over a kilometer (more than 1/2 mile) long”.(source) When one is sick the others will often follow but the question still remains as to what caused this stranding and terrible suffering and loss of cetacean life?

High school biology teacher and ocean activist Edward Johnson of Cannon Beach, Oregon posted on Facebook about the MH60R helicopter with this statement: “Just in case the Navy starts explaining how they in no way had anything to do with the Everglades whale stranding. This hybred helicopter has the power to damage the echolocation capacity of these pilot whales”(source) 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.

“Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) is evaluating CSG2 on how well they perform during simulated surface and sub-surface threats and ship movements such as transiting a strait in hostile waters.

“CSFTL will evaluate our ability to perform all the different mission sets,” said Cmdr. Andrew Walton, the operations officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). “This includes everything from counter-piracy to maritime interdiction operations and strike warfare.”(source)

OPAREA. An ocean area defined by geographic coordinates with defined surface and subsurface areas and associated special use airspace. OPAREAs include the following:
Danger Zones. A danger zone is a defined water area used for target practice, bombing, rocket firing or other especially hazardous military activities. Danger zones are established pursuant to statutory authority of the Secretary of the Army and are
administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Danger zones may be closed to the
public on a full-time or intermittent basis (33 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 334).(source pg.49)

While NOAA suggests mobilivirus as the cause of the pilot whale strandings ocean activists are questioning as to why the Bush Strike Group Comptuex exercises December 2nd through 8th have not been mentioned. Considering the location of the pilot whales strandings to OPAREA an area designated for Special Use Airspace and other activities this seems negligent.

The Navy has been given what many are calling an excessive number of takes, ” “The Navy estimates it will harm marine mammals over 33 million times in the next five years”(source) Despite public outcry NOAA/NMFS have gone ahead and given the Navy a Letter of Authorization to increase the harm caused to Marine Mammals using archaic mitigation measures such as “look outs,” people looking at the surface for dolphins and whales.

Upon application from the U.S. Navy (Navy), we the National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS) are issuing regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area from November 2013 through November 2018. These regulations allow us to issue Letters of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take.
DATES: Effective November 14, 2013, through November 13, 2018.(source pg1)

While National Security is important to all American’s when is the price too great to the ocean and ocean life such as the pilot whale who is actually a dolphin, highly evolved and intelligent? We must question whether we have the right to take their lives in the name of training for war.

Naval testing activities in the Atlantic Training Complex can “Take” 15,701 class B harassments and 153 pilot whale deaths within a one year period and 74,614 level B “Takes” and 163 level A recorded death of pilot whales over the five year period(source)

Naval training can “Take” 101,252 level B harassments and 3 pilot whale deaths within a one year period and 506,240 level B harassments and 15 recorded Level A deaths of pilot whales over the 5 year period (source)

Our voice is their only hope. As ocean advocates we must  stand up and speak up and out for the dolphins, whales and all the ocean life that is going to be impacted by the Navy’s ever increasing war games in the oceans. We must demand transparency, we must demand acoustic necropsy and access to those results.

The global community has a right to speak up for the whales and dolphins. Whalers and the captive industry are constantly being reminded by activists that they do not in fact own the whales and the dolphins that inhabit the oceans. Surely we must have the same voice in speaking out against the Navy and their ever increasing training exercises and war games that have the capacity to clear cut our oceans of whales, dolphins and many other species of ocean life.

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

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”.

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”.

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”.

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”.

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)”> 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.

“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”.

“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”.

“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”

“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”.

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”

“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”.

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”. 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.”

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”

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)
(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
(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).

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

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
(v) AN/AQS-22 or 13 (helicopter dipping sonar) – 5904 dips (an average of2952 dips
(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
(viii) MK-46 or 54 (lightweight torpedoes) – 48 torpedoes (an average of24 torpedoes
(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).”

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”  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.

Opposition to Florida Port St. Lucie Nuclear Expansion

Map of Port St. Lucie Urbanized Area as define...

Image via Wikipedia

By Edward Johnson

RE: Opposition to NCR permit approval for St. Lucie Plant, Florida Units 1 and 2 (St. Lucie 1 and 2 )


I am opposed to the application to increase the power capacity at Port St. Lucie based on my concern over the following issues:

  1. The applicant is requesting to increase the power capacity by nearly 12 % over what is presently allowed. This application presents significant safety and environmental concerns that in my determination and thereby make it  unacceptable. The age of these plants alone should be enough to reject this permit, Unit 1 has operated since March 1, 1976 (36 yrs old) and Unit 2 began operations on April 6, 1983 (29yrs old).
  2. The current amount of sea water withdrawn from the Atlantic, nearly 1 million gal/sec., will not be increased even though nearly 12 % more power will be produced. Based on my extremely limited understanding of thermodynamics it would appear that the amount of water necessary to cool these 2 reactors would also increase by an equal amount, 12 %.  Which means the required amount should be an extra 100,00 gallons /sec. to meet reentry requirements. Rather than having to increase that amount and undergone the scrutiny of additional federal agencies, they propose heating the ocean as an alternative.
  3. The seawater at withdrawal based on what has been determined, the water temp. beyond the mixing zone at exit, is 95 Deg. F. That too me seems extremely high but is the value the applicant has submitted. I would like verification that this is the temp @ the point of extraction.  In my own research have found readings for Miami Beach which is South of Port St. Lucie, Florida and would have water temperatures on average higher than those found at the Port St. Lucie location.. Those values are found in the following web site ( The yearly water temperature in that region is 79 Deg. F. with a min. occurring in Jan of 71 Deg. F. and a Max. monthly ave of 86 Deg. F. occurring in July.  The point is, at present they are taking 95 Deg. F. water and heating to 113 deg. F. and dumping it back into the ocean to begin cooling within the specified mixing zone.  This increase is a total of 18 Deg. F. Under the new application this water would increase by 2 deg. F.  to 115 Deg. F. It rather outrages me that the applicant has in any way associated the term, “nominal,”  as an expression relative to water use or temperature association above ambient values. I would further challenge these seemingly incorrect claims of a high starting ambient temperature when it appears that value should be reduced by another 16 Deg. F.  meaning the difference between entering and exiting this nuclear facility would not be a gain of 18 Deg. F. as has been mentioned but rather 18 plus 16 for a more realistic total of 34 Deg. F.  Based on the new request in increase the electrical output of the plant by 12%, using the same amount of seawater and my determined starting ambient temperature of 79 Deg F., we would have the heated water returning to the ocean not 2 Deg. F warmer but rather more than 4 Deg. F. warmer at the edge of the mixing zone. For starters I object to 2 degree allowance at the edge of the mixing zone but 4 Deg. F., as I contend, is extremely dangerous for the adjacent ocean and will have additional unintended but detrimental effects on the life in the sea and the overall health of our planet. As a remedy for an accurate assessment of these temperatures for extracted and water returned to the ocean, thermal imaging techniques should be employed.
  4. An astounding nearly 1 million gal./sec of water is pumped through the plant to cool the reactor. In my calculations every 17 hours a volume equal to the size of the New Orleans Super Dome(1 billion gallons) is basically sterilized and heated up and cooled back down to 113(presently) Deg F. which will be increase to 115 if approved before  it returns to the ocean. If you could quantify just how much microscopic life is lost from the sea in every 17 hour period and have any doubt that the Atlantic Ocean is losing its life generating capacity you only need to look at this nuclear plant at Port St. Lucie. Every day 1 billion gallons is overheated, mashed against filter screens, and treated with chlorine to kill microscopic plants and animals before returning to the sea lifeless. The NRC has a responsibility to more than the shareholders of this particular corporate entity; the ocean is our home not a cesspool created for their disposal needs. The argument that “dilution is the solution,” can no longer be used in corporate boardrooms, and in this case the by the authorizing NRC.
  5. Based on my understanding, given the water amount will remain constant and 12% more heat will be generated to turn the power producing turbines, the temp and or pressure will increase by an equal amount.  This will put the internal operation of all valves, gaskets, fittings, linings pumps and include any surface areas exposed to these temp or and pressure increases at risk of failure. The following document, a rather complete review of the nuclear industry and the aging nuclear facilities addresses this entire issue.  Based on the limited time remaining before comments must be submitted this must suffice rather than a point by point examination of these findings.
  6.  The following incident, “Jellyfish swarm shuts down St. Lucie nuclear power plant,” at this plant points out a couple of issues: A) the actual incident took place in Sept. and involved near criticality of the plant but was not publicly reported until Dec. of last year.  The NCR must increase the timely reporting of such events which allow precautionary safety awareness and evacuation to proceed.  B)  Unpredictable events have and will occur beyond what has been anticipated. During Aug. of last year a massing of jellyfish became so encumbering, it prevented seawater from reaching the cooling loop. The following article describes what happened and I will use quotes directly from that source.  “The four-day event began Aug. 22. The plant’s three intake pipes, located almost a quarter-mile offshore, began sucking in an unusually large number of moon jellyfish. Travelling through the pipes at about 4.6 mph, the jellyfishes‘ poisonous tentacles broke off…Trash rakes and large, rotating metal screens that prevent debris from getting into storage tanks could not keep pace with the influx of dying and dead jellyfish and became clogged. That caused pressure to build in the pumps that keep the water flowing in the plant for cooling…..For fish trapped in the plant’s intake canal, the situation became lethal. Unable to escape the canal, the poisonous tentacles attached to their gills, which became grossly swollen. Biologists from Inwater Research Group, a nonprofit that oversees the plant’s turtle protection program, poured white vinegar on the gills of the giant grouper in an attempt to save them. Ten were rescued before divers were forced out of the water after they, too, were stung.”  What happened during those 4 days created one of those unforeseen events that cannot be predicted and will always remain an issue when we attempt to use living substances such as seawater then attempt to manipulate it for the sole purpose of satisfying man’s whims and pleasures.
  7. “Harmful Effects of the Once-Through System The environmental impact of diverting more than a billion gallons of water per unit per day from a water source such as an ocean or estuary, heating it up, and then discharging it at temperatures up to 25 degrees F higher than the surrounding water has been shown to cause significant damage. Not only are marine animals “entrained” or “impinged” by the intake system, but billions of smaller marine organisms, essential to the food web, are also sucked into the reactor operating system and largely destroyed in this process. Entrainment involves the drawing in of marine life through an intake tunnel, pipe, or canal at a velocity the marine animals cannot resist. Once drawn in, they are subject to impingement, becoming trapped against “prevention devices” such as screens, racks, bars, and barrier nets. Larger animals may then drown or suffocate after becoming impinged,” quoted from the following:
  8. Smaller fish and other organisms may be entrained through the entire reactor system and are often scalded by the heated water before being discharged into the waterway. Others, pulverized by the reactor condenser system, emerge as sediment that clouds the water around the discharge area, often blocking light from the ocean floor. The resulting shadow effect kills plant and animal life around reactor discharge systems by curtailing the light and oxygen they need to survive.

Our home planet, Earth, appears blue from space, water essential for all life was not designed to be heated by nuclear power plants. It is time that safety dominants the issuing of new permits for aging facilities such as this one at Port St. Lucie, Florida. There is no question that rather than modifying existing limits on rules governing nuclear plant operations, a new course must be struck to elevate the ever complicating risks each new safety lower benchmark is established.

Edward W. Johnson

Operation:Halt #Snapperfest

The Ocean Bloggers Alliance is dedicated to seeing the end of Snapperfest. Our fellow blogger Holise Cleveland III has written another thought provoking post standing up for the tortured Snapping Turtles of Indiana.


Corn flakes can be eaten with yogurt or milk.Image via Wikipedia

My maternal grandparents were quite a couple. They had separate bedrooms, complete with their own televisions and TV trays. On occasion, they would chat and and/or argue. One morning, my grandmother went to my grandfather’s room and asked him what he wanted for breakfast. He chose corn flakes and they began to talk. It didn’t take long before the conversation turned into a heated argument. My grandmother stormed into the kitchen to prepare her husband’s breakfast. She returned to his room with a bowl of cereal and promptly stomped back to her room, slamming the door behind her. Seconds later, my grandfather bolted from his room. His eating utensil held high, he hollered, “How am I supposed to eat corn flakes with a damned fork?

If you are in or near Ohio County, Indiana and you are opposed to Snapperfest, you are not alone. There are others in your area who feel the same way and you may also want to engage in Operation: Halt #Snapperfest. Should you choose to accept them, here are the mission parameters.

Maintain a Low Profile: Do not publicly denounce Snapperfest or those who support it. Do not engage in online groups, pages or forums that express a desire to end Snapperfest. In fact, if you are not already doing so, you may want to comment on how Peta should just mind their own business.

Take Photographs and Videos: Cell phones are good for taking pictures and there are even camcorders out there that double as ink pens. Get the layout of the land: Campshore Campgrounds, Downtown Rising Sun, etc.

Gather Intel: Who does business with Camp WannaTortureTurtles? What businesses support Snapperfest? Obtain documents, photos and videos if possible.

Start a Roster: Who supports and attends Rising Sun’s Torturefest? It may be tricky to take photos without giving yourself away. That’s okay. Just about everyone has a picture on the web. Check Facebook, online newspaper archives, etc. A simple search for them on Google may deliver results. You can also scan photos from yearbooks. Mugshots would be a nice bonus, too. Please note: Some people are quietly opposed to Snapperfest. They may have only been along for a ride and not realized what was in store. They may have been under peer pressure. They may be one of you! So, make sure that your list is of people who participated in the event or express a lot of twisted enthusiasm for it.

Start a Blog: (Better yet, start multiple blogs.) This is where you display the results of your investigation. Many blogs, like WordPress, allow you to schedule your posts. Posts should be scheduled a day apart some time next summer. When the official date for Snapperfest is announced, you can always reschedule your posts so that they are made public a few weeks before the horrid circus. I highly recommend that you start composing your articles now so that if anything unfortunate were to happen, they will still be published. It’s also a good idea to schedule them so that they appear when you are at school, on the job or somewhere in public and away from your computer.

Start a Twitter Account under an assumed name. Blogs allow you to connect to Twitter. This way, when your article is published, its link will be broadcast on Twitter. Important: Make certain to include the hashtag #Snapperfest in the title of each post. Thousands of us worldwide will be watching for that tag. We will make sure that your info reaches the masses. You may also want to include “@Peta” in the titles. This will flag them as well and I am sure they would love to be updated on your expose’.

If any of you do not live in the area, you can also help. If you are planning a vacation or a trip through Indiana, may I recommend that you stay at Campshore Campground. Utilizing the above tactics, you can also participate in the mission for the brief time you are in Rising Sun, Indiana. You can also assist by copying this entire article and posting it to your own blog. The more copies that are out there, the easier it will be to find.

If you are a part of Camp WannaTortureAnimals and the host of Snapperfest and you are reading this (which I am sure that you are) please understand that I am in no way affiliated with PETA. I do support them in spirit, but I am just an average guy with a blog. I am one ofthe people and had you taken heed to PETA’s advice, I would not be writing this blog today. We, the people, now have no choice but to gum up the works of your torture machine. We, the people, have no choice but to reach into your comfort zone, your sanctuary, your shell and pull you out into the light of day against your will for all the world to see. We do so in the fashion by which you have so proudly displayed: with a complete and utter disregard for your feelings and rights. You really should have listened to PETA. Let’s see how much cheering you do when you find that we have put a fork in your corn flakes.

“He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr

“By being inattentive to the needs of others, inevitably we end up harming them.” ~ Dalai Lama

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