August 30, 2013

Dolphins a victim of the Navy?

TFirst we had the bees dying this week after the Air Force did their aerial spraying for mosquitoes (yesterday's posting). And now today's report from the Navy that their sonic testing and explosives will most likely result in the inadvertent death of hundreds of whales and dolphins over the next few years.

Hundreds of bottlenose dolphins have already succumbed to a measles-like virus this summer off Virginia and the mid-Atlantic. 130 in Virginia in August so far. And now those who survive this disease will have detonating explosives to deal with. Give these critters a fighting chance.

Yes, I realize that Navy equipment needs testing and sailors need training. But can't the National Marine Fisheries folks assess the effect on whales and dolphins before they issue the necessary permits? Computer models indicate that 186 whales and dolphins off our East Coast may die from sonar, torpedos and explosives, as well as 155 off Hawaii and Southern California. And then there are the projected 11,000 plus injured and millions (yes millions) more suffering hearing loss and behavioral changes such as moving to a different area. These are smart animals and they won't remain in their traditional feeding grounds, if they survive at all.

The Department of Defense obviously hasn't read the reports on ocean sustainability. The food chain will be altered beyond hope of recovery. Get ready for an environmental outcry. Someone needs to speak for the whales and dolphins.

The good news earlier this week was that the Department of the Interior delayed their decision on gas and oil companies being allowed to use seismic air guns off the Atlantic coast until next March. This gives NOAA time to update their standards on noise levels being harmful to marine life.