Navy to limit sonar to protect whales

Discussion in 'Environmental' started by Matt Rogers, Oct 13, 2003.

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  1. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Well they wouldn't admit anything until somebody sued them. Go figure..



    Report: Navy to limit sonar to protect whales
    Monday, October 13, 2003 Posted: 2:26 PM EDT (1826 GMT)

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/10/13/whales.sonar.ap/index.html


    SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The Navy has agreed to limit its peacetime use of a new sonar system designed to detect enemy submarines, but which may also harm marine mammals and fish, an environmentalist group said.

    The Navy and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the military on the issue, reached a legal settlement last week in which the Navy agreed to use the new system only in specific areas along the eastern seaboard of Asia, according to documents provided by the environmental group.

    The agreement must be approved by a federal magistrate to become permanent, but if implemented the deal would greatly restrict the Navy's original plan for the sonar system, which once was slated to be tested in most of the world's oceans.

    Navy officials familiar with the case could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Environmentalists say sonar systems endanger marine mammals and fish, especially whales. They point to a different system the Navy used in 2000, when at least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on islands in the Bahamas. Eight whales died and scientists found hemorrhaging around their brains and ear bones, which could have been caused by exposure to loud noise.

    Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups sued the Navy over the new system, seeking to restrict its use.

    U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte later issued a preliminary injunction restricting use of the system, and in a separate ruling ordered the environmentalists and the Navy to negotiate a final settlement.

    The new deal, which is the result of those negotiations, largely mirrors the restrictions imposed by Laporte's earlier injunction.

    Joel Reynolds, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, welcomed the settlement.

    "This agreement safeguards both marine life and national security," Reynolds said in a statement. "It will prevent the needless injury, harassment, and death of countless whales, porpoises and fish, and yet allow the Navy to do what is necessary to defend our country."

    In addition to restricting the system to the eastern seaboard of Asia, the Navy also agreed to seasonal restrictions designed to protect whale migrations, and to avoid using the system near the coast.

    None of the restrictions applies during time of war.
     
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  3. karlas

    karlas Fire Goby

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    no one admits anything until they dont know where to go with it. maby they need to start trying to design some other type of tracking systen. maby some type of electronic waves instead of sound waves if its possible to transmit them thru water
     
  4. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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  5. karlas

    karlas Fire Goby

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    thats amazing that so many whales beached themselved i wonder if they will ever find out the real reason this happens. maby its sort of like the lemming the small animals that run to the ocean and jump off the cliffs in large groups and they drown themselves maby there is a similar reason behind both
     
  6. Craig Manoukian

    Craig Manoukian Giant Squid

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    Bummer, good info., but still a bummer![/b]
     
  7. Phil5613

    Phil5613 Purple Spiny Lobster

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    My wife was reading this over my shoulder and her theory on the whale beachings was that they must be male whales and wouldn't stop for directions GRRRRRRRR! LOL
     
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  9. Gresham

    Gresham Great Blue Whale

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    Uh, thats what they're trying to find with the sonar, Matt. What gets me is they all ready have an insane tracking system. From what has been released, they can track a boat as small as 10 feet and can id each boat by its prop noise's. Australia can tell when a small craft enters the highly protected GBR, how they able to do that? Does that device cause breeches of whales? Did it cause the ones Matt mentioned?

    Karla, I'm not a scientist, but I don't think at the levels needed that anything would be cool for the wildlife. If they employeed electrical waves a whole slew of other animals would perish, ie. sharks or any animal that uses electrical fields (emfs?) to hunt. Our military tested a device that employeed microwaves in the little Panama war we had to get whats his face, uh, Noriega. It melted soldiers (not our soldiers) to their weapons, not a pretty site. My buddy was in that squirmish and he said it was insane what that weapon could do. Not a Geneva Convention appoved weapon, I'm sure ;)
     
  10. karlas

    karlas Fire Goby

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    that sounds like it was pretty nasty especially melting them to there weapons that would be very painful.
     
  11. Gresham

    Gresham Great Blue Whale

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    Yah, I sure wouldn't want to be on the opposite end of that weapon.

    Outboard motors and metal props are attacked all the time by sharks due to confusion from the electrical signals (emf?) given off.