On January 26, EarthJustice released an online statement regarding a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration on Thursday by a coalition of conservation and American Indian groups for granting the Navy permits to test underwater sonar along the West Coast – and potentially harass up to 650,000 porpoises, seals, dolphins and whales over a five-year period.
“These training exercises will harm dozens of protected species of marine mammals—Southern Resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises—through the use of high-intensity mid-frequency sonar,” said Steve Mashuda, an Earthjustice attorney representing the groups. “The Fisheries Service fell down on the job and failed to require the Navy to take reasonable and effective actions to protect them.”
Does sonar effect whales?
The answer is only beginning to become publicly known: YES.
So far, researchers have only scratched the surface of the numerous damaging affects Navy Sonar has on whales.
Marine biologist Antonella Servidio of “Sound of the Seas” asks the question “Why has the rate of atypical mass strandings increased over the last decades? – Pollution? – Parasites? ….. is there connection between military sonar and atypical mass strandings?”
Based on research: Yes.
Studies are beginning to reveal a very deep connection between military sonar and whale strandings and deaths.
“By comparing human and dolphin brains, the American researcher Lori Marino confirms how extremely sensitive and reactive whales are to noise.” As stated on the website. “This is common knowledge in Japan, she says, where the cruel technique of creating “noise-nets” for hunting whales and dolphins has been used for centuries. If their banging on metal poles distresses the animals enough to lead them into slaughter, what happens to the whales when they are struck by the military sonar sounds, as loud as jet engines?”
Not only is this high frequency sound distressing and disorientating to the cetaceans, but it can also be deadly.
“Many believe that the whales, who dive up to 1000m deep, are frightened by the loud noise of the military sonar. Their panicked ascent to the surface causes an extreme form of diving sickness. Gas bubbles are found in the necropsies, indicators of diving sickness – and gas bubbles in the blood are deadly.”
All the evidence seems to be pointing in the same direction: Military sonar is injuring and killing cetaceans who find themselves within it’s high frequency sound range.
So… what can I do?
Your voice matters; so make it heard!
Write to your senators, US Navy, ect. Great info on who to contact provided by the Orca Network on their website. Do check it out.
Urge the US to implement safety regulations on navy sonar usage.