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
“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
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