Military sonar threatens whales around the world

Photo of whale and dolphin stranding in AustraliaEar-splitting military sonar is needlessly threatening whales and other marine mammals throughout the world’s oceans. Yet the U.S. Navy has resisted legal requirements to put safeguards in place during peacetime testing and training to protect marine life. In response to this dangerous breach of US bedrock environmental laws, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is waging a campaign of courtroom action and public pressure to compel the Navy to restrict its use of deadly sonar.

High-intensity sonar blasts whales with noise billions of times more intense than levels known to disturb them and can cause their internal organs to hemorrhage. Scientists have linked the use of mid-frequency military sonar to hundreds of whale strandings and deaths around the world, in areas such as North Carolina, the Bahamas, Greece, the Canary Islands and Japan. Such sonar can also interfere with a whale’s hearing, affecting its ability to navigate, avoid predators, find food, care for its young and, ultimately, survive.

In July 2006, NRDC won a victory restricting the Navy’s use of whale-killing, mid-frequency sonar during a massive international military exercise in the waters off Hawaii. After a court order temporarily blocking the Navy’s use of sonar during the month-long exercise was secured, the Navy agreed to create a sonar-free buffer zone around the newly established Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, significantly increase the monitoring of marine mammals during sonar drills, and implement other protective measures.

During the latest court battle, the Secretary of Defense declared the Navy exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for six months. This unprecedented exemption releases the Navy from the mandates of this all-important law, and BioGems Defenders are now flooding the Navy with protests for putting itself above our nation’s law.

For more information and how to take action, go to NRDC web site. 

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