2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 Jan 2002 02:25:44 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Study says Navy sonar caused whale stranding
Whales' Deaths Linked to Navy's Sonar Tests 

By Rick Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 31, 2001; Page A08 

The mysterious mass stranding of 16 whales in the Bahamas in March 2000
was caused by U.S. Navy tests in which intense underwater sounds were
generated for 16 hours, according to a newly released government report
compiled by civilian and military scientists.

The report's conclusions mark the first time that underwater noise other
than from an explosion has been shown to cause fatal trauma in marine
mammals. The military's acknowledgment of responsibility also marks a
sharp departure from earlier statements by the Navy, which had denied
responsibility for the Bahamian beachings and other mass strandings of
marine mammals that coincided with sonar exercises.

Experts said the study -- which relied on an elaborate airlift of frozen
whale heads from the Bahamas to a Harvard Medical School X-ray facility
-- places the Navy on notice that it will have to balance more carefully
its need to conduct underwater sonar tests against the need to protect
marine mammals. The report, approved by Navy Secretary Gordon R.
England, concludes that the Navy should "put into place mitigation
measures that will protect animals to the maximum extent practical"
during peacetime training and research efforts.


For the entire story, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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