USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Underway in Japanese Waters Immediately Prior to Melon Headed Whale Stranding


By Kirsten Massebeau

150 melon headed whales washed up onto the shores of of Ibaraki, Japan April 10, 2015 (Japan time). Local residents and officials worked tirelessly to help the melon headed whales but sadly only three were eventually re-floated. These gregarious, and highly intelligent whales live in tight social communities, and are deep divers very susceptible to sonar and seismic testing. Each day strandings are increasing worldwide as the Navy, and Oil and Gas Corporations plunder the ocean with sound in warfare games, and in search of oil and gas pockets.

It is of no surprise to opponents of sonar and seismic testing that this tragic incident would take place. Immediately prior to the stranding the US Navy was roaming the Pacific Ocean U.S. 7th Fleet AOR in Japanese waters.

The Navy openly states, the USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6 was “Underway” in the first weeks of April. While they will release some locations of their movements, their actions remain “top secret” because of “security”. The LHD 6 is not just one ship but a component of a “fleet” of destroyers, helicopters, and submarines, that move at high speeds emitting sonar, underwater charges, marine fire and many other activities that, “harass” and kill cetaceans. Deep divers like the melon headed whales can suddenly lose control of their ability to pressurize their bodies at deep depths due to the intensified ping of warships, sonar, sonar buoys, and underwater charges.

With the addition of the USS Green Bay to the LDH 6 Bonhomme Richard fleet the US Navy is more ready, and more deadly than ever before in the Pacific.

Armed with sonar, playing war-games, another Naval exercise whose exact locations will forever be undisclosed correlates with a mass stranding.

“Although the exact cause of dolphin stranding is not yet known, scientists had earlier suggested that low- and mid-frequency sonar used by military ships might be interfering with the mammals’ echo-location system, disorienting them and hindering their ability to navigate”.

Letter Opposing Proposed Navy Permits to Harm and Harass 31 million Dolphins and Whales


By Kirsten Massebeau

Dolphin death linked to Naval Sonar exercises off the coast of San Diego,Ca. 2008/In 2000, 17 wnales stranded on beaches in the Bahamas following U.S. Navy sonar exercises. Beaked whales appear to be especially sensitive to sonar.

Dolphin death linked to Naval Sonar exercises off the coast of San Diego,Ca. 2008/In 2000, 17 whales stranded on beaches in the Bahamas following U.S. Navy sonar exercises. Beaked whales appear to be especially sensitive to sonar.

If the U.S. Navy is awarded two permits to “take” 31 million whales and dolphins over the next five years the results will be devastating to whales, dolphins, seals and all marine life off the Atlantic Coastline, Hawaii and Southern California Coastlines. The comment period on these two permits closes on March 11, 2013. Both permits are still up for review. Follow these links to see the permits and submit your comments.

How many more must die for war games!

How many more must die for war games!

A sample letter and suggestions have been provided by Stephen Hambrick creator of the  Facebook Event: Save Whales & Dolphins from Navy Sonar Massacre! 

Please enter your comments regarding the Navy sonar testing. Tell them the potential casualty rate of Marine Mammals is unacceptable.
– NOTE VERY IMPORTANT. Please Be polite. At the end of your Comment Say the following “Request the application by the US Navy be denied.”

EXAMPLE COMMENTS…….

The following are all very good examples, however it is not necessary to leave a lengthy Comment.

Such as :
a) The loss of marine life is too great, the oceans with all the vastly diversified free-roaming life of Cetaceans, together with all the other life forms contained within them are not owned or vested to the determination of the USA. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

b) “I write to express my opposition to this permit. To further allow the Navy to have an increase in incidental takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area
The numbers of marine mammals the Navy plans to harm, harass, and kill are catastrophic in impact to all the species specified. It is without precedent to slaughter, maim, otherwise harm cetaceans and other sea life on this scale. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

c) This permit seeks to fundamentally effect the balance of the worlds oceans and it’s natural habit I wish therefore to demand that you do not award the navy this permit, which seeks to commit devastation which will have consequences well beyond the the USA oceanic jurisdiction. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.

d) Dostana posts, “The loss of marine life is too great, the oceans with all the vastly diversified free-roaming life of Cetaceans, together with all the other life forms contained within them are not owned or vested to the determination of the USA. Request the application by the US Navy be denied.”

e) By the Navy’s own admission, per their application. The Navy requests authorization to take individuals in a total of 74 marine mammal species and another 27 more marine mammals, with serious injury or mortality. While I appreciate the Navy’s ability to defend and protect, the training and exercises should not be at the expense of the life of our oceans. For without our oceans. We have no life!
A panel of leading marine scientists brought together in Oxford in 2011 by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).The suggestion made by the panel is that the potential extinction of species, from large fish to tiny corals, is directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions in the geological record, during each of which much of the world’s life died out. The panel of 27 scientists, who considered the latest research from all areas of marine science, concluded that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history”. They also concluded:The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted; Many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions; The first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun. Dr Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and IPSO’s scientific director states: “As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had realized.This is a very serious situation demanding action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, in the lifetime of our children and generations beyond that.” Given the state of our oceans at this time, allowing these tests seems to be far beyond a ‘negligible impact’. Therefore I request the application of the US Navy be denied.

Petitions you can sign!

Permit would allow U.S. Navy to Clear Cut The Oceans of Whales and Dolphins


By Kirsten Massebeau

The U.S. Navy is seeking authorization to “take” the largest number of whales, dolphins and seals in history.

The term “take,” as defined in Section 3 (16 U.S.C. § 1362 (13)) of the MMPA, means “to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.” “Harassment” was further defined in the 1994 amendments to the MMPA, which provided two levels of “harassment,” Level A (potential injury) and Level B (potential disturbance). (Section 5)

A record 31 million marine mammals will be injured and killed, at the very least their lives disrupted during Naval training exercises off the Atlantic, Hawaii, and Southern California Coast Range during the 5 year period if the permits are granted.

King Island Tasmania 2009 stranding. Scientists believe that naval sonar from both Australian and US Navy may have been responsible. — Island,Tasmania 2009

King Island Tasmania 2009 stranding. Scientists believe that naval sonar from both Australian and US Navy may have been responsible. — Island,Tasmania 2009

“It’s the largest proposed authorization of these levels of harm since such authorizations have been required under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The Navy’s mid-frequency sonar has been implicated in mass strandings of whales and dolphins across the globe. In 2000, 14 beaked whales and several other marine mammals stranded themselves in the Bahamas in response to U.S. Navy vessels operating offshore mid-frequency sonar. Further investigations revealed bleeding around the whale’s ears and brains”.(source)

Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet 2012

Picture by Sandy Sullivan taken at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet

In the Atlantic alone 2,599 striped dolphins, 2,203 common dolphins, and 1,854 Atlantic spotted dolphins are slated to be injured and killed (Class A). That is only naming a few of the species that will be killed as a by-product of Naval training. Many other millions of encounters are requested in both the Atlantic permit and the Hawaii Southern California Permit citing (Class B) ranging from harassment to temporary hearing loss as seen in the permit request for the Atlantic Fleet Training and testing area:

Over the 5-year LOA period being requested, the Navy requests 1,735 total Level A harassments and 11,559,236 total Level B harassments for all marine mammals combined for testing activities, excluding ship shock trials. 

For one CVN ship shock trial, the Navy’s requests a maximum of 6,591 Level A harassments and 4,607 Level B harassments over the 5-year LOA period. (Source 5.2.1)

Sonar and the explosions created by underwater detonations are deadly to marine mammals. The injuries are painful and death may come slowly as injured and disoriented dolphins and whales flounder for days or weeks in the ocean eventually stranding or dying at sea:

“Many of these beached whales have suffered physical trauma, including bleeding around the brain, ears and other tissues and large bubbles in their organs.

These symptoms are akin to a severe case of “the bends” — the illness that can kill scuba divers who surface quickly from deep water. Scientists believe that the mid-frequency sonar blasts may drive certain whales to change their dive patterns in ways their bodies cannot handle, causing debilitating and even fatal injuries”.(source)

Be a voice for the voiceless! We must insist that the Navy start scaling back their sonar and war games not increasing them. In addition, the Navy’s reliance on people known as “look-outs” to detect marine mammals is unacceptable and inefficient as whales and dolphins spend most of their lives underwater.

What you can do!

Join the event on Facebook Saving Whales and Dolphins from Sonar Navy Massacre!

The two permits now available for comment until March 11, 2013: 

1)  2012 U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Activities (AFTT)

2) 2012 U.S. Navy Hawaii Southern California Training and Testing Activities (HSTT).

United States Citizens Only:

1) Protect Constituents Rights of Appeal on NOAA Marine Mammal Permit Application. The Navy and NOAA/NMFS are trying to take away your right to be a voice for marine mammals. Follow this link the sign the petition.

2) Prohibit Military Sonar and Seismic Testing Harming Marine Mammals. Sign the petition

Next Post


By Ed Johnson
Again a whale death in a rather limited area being impacted by seismic testing . Strand No More has once again delineated the time and exact locations of three different testing vessels that could have been responsible. Great science great read.

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 ) –
9644
(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!
jim.lecky@noaa.gov

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: https://championsforcetaceans.com/2012/03/07/cape-cod-dolphin-stranding-coincides-with-atlantic-naval-warfare-exercises-in-10-years/

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:

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration
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

Rare Western Gray Whale heads south long eastern Pacific path


How little we know!!! In a recent blog I made the mistake of saying that Western Pacific Gray Whales were strictly found near the Sakhalin Islands which are of the east coast of Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk. Further they did not mix and were genetically separate making interbreeding most unlikely in regards to our  closely aligned California Gray Whale.

Flex was born in the summer of 1997 making him thirteen years old and one of only 130 living members of this species. By following the link below through Bruce Mate at the Oregon State University more exact information and specifics of this seemingly  unusual migration can be found.

Again I feel we have a creature screaming for help, for all we know there may be several traveling together, since Flex was the only one  tagged. Credit should be given to the Russian branch of the International Wildlife Federation for attempting to stop further drilling for oil near the Sakhalin Islands.  Therein lies the real problem, the search for and extraction of petrochemicals and its high decibel sounds.

http://mmi.oregonstate.edu/Sakhalin2010