Air Force plans to bomb whales

SUBHEAD: USAF asks NOAA for permission to take lives on sea mammals while testing weapons in ocean.

By Juan Wilson on 6 February 2017 in Island Breath - 

Image above: Squadron of F-16s at Elgin Air Force Base during exercise Combat Hammer. From (

Note, Katherine Muzik PHD emailed us  2/9/17 the following "Weapons testing would happen for five straight days every summer, in an area approxmately 50 miles north of the island.The permit asks for permission to launch nearly 100 missiles each year.Within the request, the military said it was possible that the following species of marine mammals could be effected by the explosions:
  1. Humpback whale
  2. Sei whale
  3. Minke whale
  4. Pygmy sperm whale
  5. Dwarf sperm whale
  6. Pygmy killer whale
  7. Short-finned pilot whale
  8. Melon headed whale
  9. Bottlenose dolphin
  10. Pantropical spotted dolphin
  11. Striped dolphin
  12. Spinner dolphin
  13. Rough-toothed dolphin
  14. Fraser's dolphin
  15. Risso's dolphin
  16. Longman's beaked whale
While the Air Force says no animals are expected to be killed, officials estimate that at least 219 animals were likely to experience a significant change in behavioral patterns, including those involving migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding and feeding.

Military estimates indicate that 382 animals could suffer temporary hearing loss, with roughly 36 permanently losing their hearing.

Humpback whales, Minke whales, Pygmy sperm whales and Dwarf sperm whales are at greatest risk of injury, the military says.

"They rely on their hearing to find food. They also rely on their hearing to avoid predators, said Henkin. "They rely on their hearing to find mates and rear their young. So any time a marine mammal permanently loses its hearing those individuals would be at greater risk of dying."


 The 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, based in Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, submitted request with the National Marine Fisheries Service of the NOAA for authorization to harm the hearing of 637 whales and dolphins from September 2017 through August 2022 while testing ordinance in the ocean range operated by the pacific Missle Range Facility on Kauai. See pdf of Star Bulletin article here (

The Air Force is applying to NOAA, at the National Marine Fisheries office within the Office of Protected Resources for a permit authorizing the Air Force to do "incidental takes" of marine mammals.

A "take" is when you harass, maim, or kill. The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires that applicants engaging in dangerous actions apply for such authorization permit.

The comment period, which ended today, is to comment on the application in terms of omissions or inaccuracies.

There are two comment periods. This is the first one. After receiving all "relevant" comments (those regarding omissions and inaccuracies), the Fisheries Service will integrate them into a report that will be published, and which will then trigger the second comment period, which will invite comments that are broader than just those for omissions and/or inaccuracies.

The purpose of this report will be to give an overview of the proposed action and its effects on marine mammals, and to set rules that the air force would have to follow in order to minimize the number of allowed "takes."

By the way, this proposed action has nothing to do with sonar. It has nothing to do with the navy. This is about bombing and missiles conducted by the air force above, at and below the surface of the water.

One thing we do know, though, is that cetaceans need a peaceful environment, and that sound travels very very far and is very disruptive to their breeding, feeding, socializing etc. So these explosions would have dramatic detrimental impact.

The proposed action is to take place for five years, between 2017-2022.

Here is a link to the application:

Today is the deadline for comment on this plan.
Traditional mail address is:
Jolie Harrison, Chief Perimts and Conservation Division
Office of Protected Resources National Marines Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring MD 20910

USAF to start weapons tests near Kauai

By Associated Press on 6 February 2017 in the Garden Island News

The Air Force wants to resume its weapons testing program at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, but some are concerned about the potential impacts on marine animals.

The Air Force in December filed a request seeking authorization for the testing from the National Marine Fisheries Service. A public comment period on the request ends Monday, The Garden Island reported ( ).

The five-year testing of mainly bombers and fighter aircraft would start in September. It would involve the detonation of a variety of missiles and other weapons about 50 miles offshore of Kauai.

The testing could cause sound or pressure-related problems for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals in the area.

Gordon LaBedz of Kauai's whale education group Kohola Leo said the fight to prevent the Army from getting a federal permit will likely end up in court.

"The only way to stop them from getting permits to kill whales and dolphins is to sue them," LaBedz said. "When we do, we usually win, but the conservation community only has so much money for attorneys."

Whitlow Au, who studies the behavior of marine life, said determining the effects of the sounds from weapons testing on marine animals is a complicated process.

"We don't even know the intensity of the sound that reaches an animal caused by a missile launch," said Au, chief scientist of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii.

If a whale in the area dives when a missile is being launched, that could be interpreted as a reaction to the launch, or it could just be natural behavior, he explained.

Au and his students have applied for their own five-year permit with the NMFS to study the effects of noise behavior on whales and dolphins.

While Au is not convinced weapons testing negatively impacts marine animals, he said it is important for the Army to conduct its training without harming sea life.

"These groups of people have to learn how to work together in a collaborative-type relationship," Au said.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: PMRF injuring marine mammals 10/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai and Niihau endangered 9/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Oceans 4 Peace Pacific Pivot Panel 6/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Federal Court slams Navy Sonar 7/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DLNR responsibility for RIMPAC 7/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai's PMRF is bang out of sight 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Oceans4Peace Pacific Pivot Panel 6/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean 4 Peace Events 6/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Prepare for RIMPAC War in Hawaii 5/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to "take" millions of mammals 5/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 in Full March 7/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: 21st Century Energy Wars 7/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War on the Ocean 7/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Voila - World War Three 7/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Pacific Pivot 6/28/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot - An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13 
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again  9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy license to kill 10/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Unproved Osprey on Kauai 8/21/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii - Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12   
Ea O Ka Aina: PMRF missiles destroying us 2/4/12
Ea O Ka Aina: PMRF tests new weapon system 11/18/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security - One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to U.S. Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM - Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia - Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 - Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 - Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 - Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04

1 comment :

leilaniqueenofspa said...

This is a travesty. The environment, as well as, all living mammals will be harmed, deafened, etc. Please have all readers go to type in Stop US from bombing whales to sign petition needed

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