2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 8 Oct 2003 19:24:18 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Scientists split over regulations on sonar use
Scientists split over regulations on sonar use
Fresh evidence suggests man-made noise can harm marine mammals.
Rex Dalton
9 October 2003

The US Congress is considering proposals that will make it easier to get
permission to use high-volume sonars in the ocean - just as fresh
evidence suggests that their noise can harm marine mammals.

Capitol Hill is looking at two measures to loosen the 1972 Marine Mammal
Protection Act (MMPA), which sets guidelines for noisy experiments in
the oceans. One would simplify the rules, making it easier to get
permission to do the experiments. The second would exempt the US Navy
from the regulations on the grounds of national security.

The changes are supported by the navy and by some geophysicists, who
want to use noise-generating devices to study geological formations on
the ocean floor. But they are strongly opposed by many marine
biologists. "There is a huge split over the issue," says John
Hildebrand, who studies marine mammal acoustics at the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

In a Brief Communication in this issue of Nature, a team led by Paul
Jepson of the Institute of Zoology in London concludes that 14 whale
deaths off the Canary Islands last year may have been caused by
decompression sickness after the animals shot to the surface to escape
sonars during Spanish-led international naval exercises1. The team says
the sonar appears to have caused gas bubbles to form in the blood,
damaging the whales' livers and kidneys.

Experts say that the study provides some of the most direct evidence to
date that sonars can kill marine mammals. "This report has the potential
to be the 'smoking gun' on the cause of sonar-related mammal
strandings," says Hildebrand. "It certainly focuses on the potential
dangers of sonar, which need to be thoroughly investigated."

This article can be viewed at:

CPEO: A DECADE OF SUCCESS.  Your generous support will ensure that our 
important work on military and environmental issues will continue.  
Please consider one of our donation options.  Thank you.

  Prev by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Anti-tank rocket prompts road closure, air restriction
Next by Date: [CPEO-MEF] Navy Sonar Affecting Whales
  Prev by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Anti-tank rocket prompts road closure, air restriction
Next by Thread: [CPEO-MEF] Navy Sonar Affecting Whales

CPEO Lists
Author Index
Date Index
Thread Index