2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Jun 2003 20:21:01 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Sonar puts whales at greater risk
Sonar puts whales at greater risk
Wednesday, June 18, 2003

On May 5, the Navy vessel Shoup used its ear-splitting sonar in the
waters of Haro Strait, the heart of our local orca whales' habitat.
Scientists observed the entire J-pod of orcas reacting in distress and a
minke whale desperately trying to flee. Similar sonar use in the Bahamas
in March 2000 killed rare whales and dolphins.

The Navy should stop using sonar in Puget Sound and the Northwest
Straits. Southern resident orca whales, the most beloved creatures in
our precious inland sea, are on the brink of extinction. At the top of
Puget Sound's food web, the plight of these creatures also reflects the
crisis of Puget Sound's ecosystem.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has designated the southern
resident community of orcas as "depleted" under the Marine Mammal
Protection Act, having determined that they are on a path toward
extinction. The region is struggling to restore the orcas' food source
(salmon); to remove toxins from the environment; and to curtail
activities that disturb the whales' ability to feed and rest. Actions
that could further diminish the orcas' chances for survival must be
avoided. Other marine mammals deserve the same consideration.

In addition to the dramatic incident on May 5, there are confirmed
reports of sonar use on the preceding days. Higher-than-average
strandings of porpoises during this time period may also be tied to
these sonar episodes.

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