There’s only one piece of news in the world of whales this week that I’m focusing on – the comment deadline (tomorrow, July 10) on the Navy’s plans for training and testing activities in Southern California and Hawaii and along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico from 2014 to 2019. The Navy’s own estimates of harm paint a picture of unprecedented carnage: 33 million instances of “take” (“take” means any harm that ranges from a significant behavioral impact, like habitat abandonment, to death), including more than 5 million instances of temporary hearing loss, more than 15,000 instances of permanent hearing loss, almost 9,000 lung injuries, and more than 1,800 deaths from the use of sonar and explosives over the five-year period.
It’s an unprecedented story of devastation that is leading hundreds of thousands to take a stand against the Navy’s plans. Over 400,000 people have signed a petition through SignOn.org (Navy to deafen 15,900 whales and dolphins and kill 1,800 more). I hope you will add your name to the growing list as soon as possible -- the deadline for comments to the Navy is tomorrow, July 10.
People are rightfully incensed because the Navy’s staggering estimation of harm did not trigger an effort to identify and analyze alternatives or mitigation measures that would in any way significantly reduce the harm to these area’s whales and dolphins. The Navy should go back to the drawing board and find ways to limit the harm to marine mammals before finalizing its plans. We may need to train and test with sonar and explosives but there has to be a way to do it that protects whales and dolphins as much as possible while also achieving the Navy’s training and testing needs.
Please join me in asking the Navy to do more to protect whales and dolphins from its training and testing activities by signing the SignOn.org petition and NRDC’s alert here: Protect Whales from the Navy’s Sonic Onslaught!