Stop Navy killing marine mammals

SOURCE: Koohan Paik (
SUBHEAD:  Tell the Navy to examine alternatives that would limit activities harmful to marine mammals.

By Dave Henkin on 6 December 2017 for Earth Justice -

Image above: Outrigger canoe tries to keep this pod of pilot whales from beaching at Kalapaki on Kauai - five of them died. From (

The key to reducing harm to marine mammals is to restrict harmful Navy activities in sensitive marine habitat.

Unfortunately, the Navy proposes stripping protections from critical areas.

Thousands of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals could suffer permanent injury—and even death—from warfare training exercises if the Navy walks back their agreement to a reasonable testing and training plan.

Over the next five years, the Navy wants to fire tens of thousands of rockets, missiles and projectiles and blast sonar for tens of thousands of hours in waters off Hawai‘i and Southern California that are home to dozens of vulnerable marine mammal species.

To marine mammals, the deafening sounds from Navy activities can be fatal. In the dark depths of the ocean, these mammals rely almost entirely on sound to “see” their world. It’s how they feed, mate, communicate and navigate. If a whale or dolphin can’t hear, it can’t survive.

Before the Navy can adopt its testing and training plan, it needs to consider public input under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. You have only until December 12 to tell the Navy to commit to a reasonable plan that achieves military preparedness while maximizing marine mammal safety.

Image above: Two dying pilot whales on the sand at Kalapaki Beach. From (

After a landmark settlement with Earthjustice in 2015, the Navy voluntarily agreed to safeguards for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, protecting vast swaths of vital ocean habitat. But these common sense measures are conspicuously missing from Navy’s draft plan for the next five years of training and testing around the Hawaiian Islands and off Southern California.

The settlement proved that the Navy can both protect our nation and minimize harm to whales and dolphins by limiting the use of sonar and explosives in vital habitats.

The waters off the coast of Southern California are a globally important feeding area for endangered whales, and, for numerous small, resident whale and dolphin populations off Hawai‘i, the islands are literally their only home.

For years, scientists have documented that mid-frequency sonar wreaks havoc on the ocean environment, causing serious impacts to marine mammals, such as permanent hearing loss, lung injuries, strandings, habitat abandonment and even death.

The Navy already acknowledged that it doesn’t need to train in every square inch of the ocean and that it can take reasonable steps to reduce the deadly toll of its activities. Tell it to examine and pursue alternatives that protect both the nation and irreplaceable marine life.

See also: 
Ea O Ka Aina: Air Force plans to bomb whales 2/6/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaiian spinner dolphin restriction 1/9/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to dump 20K tons of poison 11/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: PMRF injuring marine mammals10/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Judgement against RIMPAC 2016 5/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: US court RIMPAC Impact decision 4/3/15
Ea O Ka Aina: PMRF RIMPAC Claptrap 11/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC 2014 - another whale death 7/26/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Injury & Death Toll 3/19/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy License to Kill 10/9/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy admits threat to sea mammals 5/10/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Talk on Ocean Noise 12/28/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to kill Pacific whales 1/17/09

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