U.S. Navy Proposes “Taking” 33 Million Marine Mammals

This is stunning, and a perfect example of how the inertia of stale priorities–especially Cold War-era national security priorities–can take us down some disastrous roads.

From a New York Times editorial:

Between 2014 and 2019, the United States Navy hopes to conduct testing and training exercises in the Atlantic and the Pacific that will involve sonars and explosives of many different kinds.

Over the years, the Navy has been forced to acknowledge what science has clearly demonstrated: noise generated by sonar and underwater detonations can kill marine mammals, like whales and porpoises, and disturb their normal feeding, breeding and migration. In preparing for its upcoming exercises, the Navy has asked the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval to “take” a number of marine mammals — “take” being the broad term for everything from killing these creatures to disturbing their habits.

This all sounds as it should be, with the Navy requesting permission from the agency, as required by various laws protecting marine mammals and endangered species. But the numbers say something else. In its testing areas in the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific, the Navy estimates that between 2014 and 2019 it will “take” nearly 33 million marine mammals — everything from blue whales to elephant seals.

Most of these creatures will be disturbed in some way but not injured or killed. But the damage could still be considerable. Sound travels much faster through water than it does through air, magnifying its impact, and many of the sounds the Navy plans to generate fall in the frequencies most damaging to marine mammals. More than five million of them may suffer ruptured eardrums and temporary hearing loss, in turn disrupting normal behavioral patterns. As many as 1,800 may be killed outright, either by testing or by ship strikes.

So we’ve got whales versus sonar and naval training. That’s a trade-off that needs a much closer look, as the New York Times urges.

25 thoughts on “U.S. Navy Proposes “Taking” 33 Million Marine Mammals”

  1. we must oppose this nonsense…but how? what can private citizens do? this is to me is simply unacceptable and for what?

  2. this can not going on harming defendless animals on planet earth , they have the right to cheers their lives as we do, it must not be tolerated , especially bij educated people.
    It’s outrageous

  3. It depends how much ‘r’ wants to do. Easy to join and support a marine conservation group that gets out there with proactive agendas – there are lots of us wherever you are living. Or at the very least, use the power of social networking. Share, share and share again…encourage all your friends to do the same and pass it on. Write or email those with the power to change – the US Navy, your local Senators and other Government representatives. Freedom of Information Act allows anyone the freedom to ask any question if those that represent you. If you don’t get the replies that are appropriate, share that. If you do, share what they tell you and see who believes what they’re saying. It would be nice if more people got off their backsides to tackle these and other important issues, but these days – in reality – you don’t even have to but can still be effective. Good luck ‘r’!

  4. Stop it now, you ruin the ocean, without the mammals the ocean will die. Without the ocean we will die

  5. Why kill all those mammels in our oceans ???? Its like experiencing world war 2 when all those people were killed by the nazis or its like the slaughters in Japan…. When you don’t stop this you will be a murderer.. no more and no less…. Killing all those innocent creatures for you own purposes is bad.. very very bad…

  6. enough is enough… you just irradiated 100 burros off leased land in China lake why do you assume the wildlife who you have no ownership over is alright to just destroy, remove, or whatever whim suits you? isnt your job to protect?

  7. Apart from being just wrong it also arguably does not reflect the will of the people, that being the case one asks oneself; ‘What gives them the right?’

  8. Isso é idiota!!! porque as pessoas tem atitudes cruéis assim? é impressionante a ganancia de destruição!!! Pessoas assim não poder ser consideradas como um ser huamano!!!!

  9. This is unbelievably cruel and inhumane. This needs to be stopped ASAP. What gives them the right to do such atrocities to Marine Mammals? We should be protecting them not abusing them. Whose fault will it be when they are all extinct?

  10. Killing all those innocent creatures for you own purposes is unacceptable !! The US Navy isn’t better then the Japanese Whale slaughterer – there is just no blood to see….

  11. Isso é um absurdo …como podem fazer isso ????
    Vamos nos unir contra essa crueldade!!!!

  12. USA has gone mad a long time ago, they want to destroy this beautiful planet.
    We don´t need more weapons, we dont need more wars! stop the madness!!!

  13. If it hasn’t quite happend yet, we’re another – huge – step closer:

    No worthy life left in the world to be “protected” by the military if they kill all life around ourselves by “sucessfully” testing military equipment in the first place… get it? *sick*

  14. Who cares if it’s 2012 or 2013 ?Everyone needs to comment and post any and all links to stop these criminal acts,I mean WTF.!!!??!!! As a species,is it really okay to continually destroy living things just because…?? I love America,but I would rather have a viable and COMPLETE world for our children,and their children’s offspring,instead of being kept safe from Captain Nemo and the ghost of Osama riding in a North Korean sub,….fracking for oil is bad enough and causing enough damage already,don’t be fooled by mysterious sinkholes and lame reasons,we all know the simple physics in a full glass of water and then adding an egg….yes it overflows, and yes ,when nuclear weapons explode ,thousands or things die ,so why try to kill off species of other MAMMALS,and most likely,WITH HIGHER I.Q’s then Us for defense tests,??? When was the last time you heard of Flipper killing a porpoise for Uranium or land rights??? WAKE UP PEOPLE…..we don’t have to kill everything on our watch……

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