2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Mar 2005 17:19:49 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Sonar harm to marine mammals debated
Degree of sonar harm to marine mammals debated 

Whales, porpoises seen acting strangely

March 18, 2005

Scientists and whale-watchers in Haro Strait could hear the sonar long
before they saw the USS Shoup.

As the pings grew louder above and beneath the waves, sounds ricocheting
off submerged land forms, onlookers saw a minke whale, Dall's porpoises
and killer whales behaving strangely.

Whale expert David Bain said a minke, usually wary of research boats,
was nearly run over by one. The porpoises panicked, bolting from the
unnatural sounds. A pod of orcas swam into an unusual area, hid for a
while, then split up, reuniting a day later. 

But to the chagrin of those hoping for stronger marine mammal
protections, a report by the National Marine Fisheries Service shows the
difficulties in scientifically proving sonar's impact on denizens of the deep.

At a time when scientists and environmentalists increasingly view sonar
as a culprit in marine mammal deaths, such as the recent dolphin
beachings at Florida's Key West, the federal report effectively
concludes that the high-powered sonar used by the Navy in 2003 did not
actually harm Puget Sound orcas' hearing. 


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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