Taken from Natural Resources Defense Council The Earth’s Best Defense, Pierce Brosnan
National Resources Defense Council 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 10011
Navy Prepared To Kill Nearly 1,000 Marine Mammals and injure thousands of others.
The U.S. Navy has new plans for training and testing with sonar and explosives-and those plans spel disaster for our planet’s whales.
If the Navy proceeds, nearly 1,000 whales and other marine mammals could be killed over the next five years. There will be more than 13,000 cases of serious injury such as permanent hearing loss or lung damage-and tens of millions of incidents in which marine mammals are harassed or harmed.
We have no reason to doubt these alarming numbers. They come from the U.S. Navy itself.
They reflect the staggering scope of the Navy’s plans, which threaten entire populations of marine wildlife off the East Coast, Southern California, Hawaii and the Gulf Coast.
Navy ships will detonate high-powered explosives with the potential to fatally injure lungs and other organs. And mid-frequency sonar will bombard whales with noise so intense-up to 236 decibels-it can actually cause their internal organs to hemorrhage.
Hundreds of whales around the world have already stranded-with many dying-after getting blasted with this kind of sonar. For years, the Navy denied that sonar was responsible.
That has changed. Today, the Navy admits that sonar can take a terrible toll on whales. Its own projections for injured and dead animals have soared.
The Navy knows full well that its indiscriminant use of sonar and explosives will take a terrible toll, even as many of the world’s most magnificient whale species–like blue whales and North Atlantic right whales-are barely clinging to survival.
The Navy’s mid-frequency sonar is designed to detect enemy submarines by flooding tens or even hundreds of square miles of ocean with intense sound. Warships carryiing underwater speakers can blast the ocean with an ear-splitting level of noise of 236 decibels-thousands of times more powerful than a jet engine!
The noise is beyond excruciating-it’s deadly. Sonar can cause a whales internal organs to hemorrage.
Some beached whales have been found bleeding around their brains and ears after encountering mid-frequency sonar blasts.
There have been an alarming number of mass strandings over the past decade-involving up to 200 whales at once-all of which have been linked to the use of military sonar.
The evidence is unequivocal: Mid-frequency sonar kills marine mammals. That’s why the International Whaling Commission has said that the science linking mid-frequency sonar to the fatal stranding of whales is “overwhelming”. That’s why the European Parliament voted to support a moratorium on the use of high-intensity sonar.
Yet the Navy continues to conduct business as usual. Blasting our oceans with high-intensity noise, knowing full well that the acoustic onslaught could have far-reaching impacts on entire populations of whales-some of the most awe-inspiring and magnificent species on earth.
Make no mistake: The Navy has the means to safeguard these remarkable animals, and it doesn’t have to sacrifice our national security one iota to do it.
So it’s all the more distressing that the Navy refuses to put common-sense precautions in place that could protect whales during routine training- especially because taking such steps would in no way compromise our military readiness.
That’s right: There are a number of simple, proven measures the Navy could take to safeguard whales from the deadly impact of its sonar and explosives. For example, the Navy could avoid key habitats where whales are know to migrate and raise their young.
But it seems the Navy will not budge from its old way of doing things.
Fortunately, the Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC] is coming to the defense of whales everywhere by mobilizing massive public opposition to the Navy’s reckless plan for training with sonar and explosives.
Our message is simple: Whales should not have to suffer or die for military practice.
If you agree, I urge you to join us in sending a message to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
Time is of the essence. Once the Navy’s plan goes into effect it will take a terrible and mounting toll on marine mammals for five long years.