Tapping on the World’s Tank? – Underwater Noise Pollution

Remember when the clerk in the pet store told you not to tap on the fish tank, because the percussive sound disturbs the fish? Turns out it’s true, underwater noise can adversely effect marine life, particularly the mid-frequency, high intensity sonar systems used by U.S. Navy ships and submarines to detect enemy stealth submarine technology.

Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of three other environmental and animal rights groups, won a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, in which the Navy agreed to scale back the use of low-frequency wave technology. However, they continued the use of the mid-frequency high intensity sonar, which interferes with a marine mammal’s ability to navigate, find food, communicate and avoid predators.

“Without reasonable limits, the proliferation of high intensity sonar will cause excruciating pain, injury and death for an increasing number of marine animals,” said Frederick O’Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In the last nine years there have been 10 cases of mass strandings and whale deaths associated with mid-frequency sonar testing in the coastal waters from Greece to the Canary Islands.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands have found nitrogen bubbles in the tissues of stranded whales which exhibited the same effects as those of decompression sickness (DCS) in humans.

“The detailed examination of the mass stranded whales in the Canaries in 2002 suggests the naval sonar could induce a condition similar to DCS,” Professor Antonio Fernandez of the University of Las Palmas said.

In early July 2004, a pod of 200 deep-water melon-headed whales stampeded into the shallow waters off Kauai, Hawaii, during U.S.-Japanese naval training exercises utilizing the high intensity sonar. In the confusion, one of the whales was stranded and died.

Post mortem examinations on some whales exposed to sonar show evidence of internal ear hemorrhaging similar to that found in divers who have suffered from the “bends” or decompression sickness, according to the science journal, Nature.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates intense active sonar harms marine mammals, causing them to strand, causing physical injury and disruptions,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The coalition is willing to go to court to block the Navy’s continued use of the sonar, however, the National Marine Fisheries Department recently granted the Navy permission to operate its new low frequency sonar system, exempting them from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the next five years.

The Navy offered these provisions to mitigate the effects of the sonar; to keep the sonar testing at least 12 miles away from the coast and to shut down the sonar if marine mammals are detected within 2 km of the testing area.

However, even with the provisions in place the whale deaths continue.

A mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas in 2000 has been linked to sonar testing in the area. Then, the last week in July, two dead whales washed ashore on Spain’s Canary Islands, a few days after NATO exercises involving 20,000 troops and more than 20 warships occurred in the area.

“There is a strong suspicion that that their deaths were related to the NATO exercises that finished a few days ago” said Tony Gallardo, environmental expert with the government of the island of Fuerteventura, located off the southern Moroccan coast.

Even the whale watching expeditions that have become so popular have begun to harm marine mammals. Studies have shown that the noise from the boats disrupts the whale’s hunting patterns, makes it harder to find food, and forces them to swim faster to get away from the boats. This causes the whales to burn off blubber, which is laden with toxins, and they end up dying from the chemicals, according to Mark Anderson, president of Orca Relief Citizen’s Alliance.

Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of three other environmental and animal rights groups, won a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, in which the Navy agreed to scale back the use of low-frequency wave technology. However, they continued the use of the mid-frequency high intensity sonar, which interferes with a marine mammal’s ability to navigate, find food, communicate and avoid predators.

“Without reasonable limits, the proliferation of high intensity sonar will cause excruciating pain, injury and death for an increasing number of marine animals,” said Frederick O’Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In the last nine years there have been 10 cases of mass strandings and whale deaths associated with mid-frequency sonar testing in the coastal waters from Greece to the Canary Islands.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands have found nitrogen bubbles in the tissues of stranded whales which exhibited the same effects as those of decompression sickness (DCS) in humans.

“The detailed examination of the mass stranded whales in the Canaries in 2002 suggests the naval sonar could induce a condition similar to DCS,” Professor Antonio Fernandez of the University of Las Palmas said.

In early July 2004, a pod of 200 deep-water melon-headed whales stampeded into the shallow waters off Kauai, Hawaii, during U.S.-Japanese naval training exercises utilizing the high intensity sonar. In the confusion, one of the whales was stranded and died.

Post mortem examinations on some whales exposed to sonar show evidence of internal ear hemorrhaging similar to that found in divers who have suffered from the “bends” or decompression sickness, according to the science journal, Nature.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates intense active sonar harms marine mammals, causing them to strand, causing physical injury and disruptions,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The coalition is willing to go to court to block the Navy’s continued use of the sonar, however, the National Marine Fisheries Department recently granted the Navy permission to operate its new low frequency sonar system, exempting them from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the next five years.

The Navy offered these provisions to mitigate the effects of the sonar; to keep the sonar testing at least 12 miles away from the coast and to shut down the sonar if marine mammals are detected within 2 km of the testing area.

However, even with the provisions in place the whale deaths continue.

A mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas in 2000 has been linked to sonar testing in the area. Then, the last week in July, two dead whales washed ashore on Spain’s Canary Islands, a few days after NATO exercises involving 20,000 troops and more than 20 warships occurred in the area.

“There is a strong suspicion that that their deaths were related to the NATO exercises that finished a few days ago” said Tony Gallardo, environmental expert with the government of the island of Fuerteventura, located off the southern Moroccan coast.

Even the whale watching expeditions that have become so popular have begun to harm marine mammals. Studies have shown that the noise from the boats disrupts the whale’s hunting patterns, makes it harder to find food, and forces them to swim faster to get away from the boats. This causes the whales to burn off blubber, which is laden with toxins, and they end up dying from the chemicals, according to Mark Anderson, president of Orca Relief Citizen’s Alliance.

Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of three other environmental and animal rights groups, won a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, in which the Navy agreed to scale back the use of low-frequency wave technology. However, they continued the use of the mid-frequency high intensity sonar, which interferes with a marine mammal’s ability to navigate, find food, communicate and avoid predators.

“Without reasonable limits, the proliferation of high intensity sonar will cause excruciating pain, injury and death for an increasing number of marine animals,” said Frederick O’Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In the last nine years there have been 10 cases of mass strandings and whale deaths associated with mid-frequency sonar testing in the coastal waters from Greece to the Canary Islands.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands have found nitrogen bubbles in the tissues of stranded whales which exhibited the same effects as those of decompression sickness (DCS) in humans.

“The detailed examination of the mass stranded whales in the Canaries in 2002 suggests the naval sonar could induce a condition similar to DCS,” Professor Antonio Fernandez of the University of Las Palmas said.

In early July 2004, a pod of 200 deep-water melon-headed whales stampeded into the shallow waters off Kauai, Hawaii, during U.S.-Japanese naval training exercises utilizing the high intensity sonar. In the confusion, one of the whales was stranded and died.

Post mortem examinations on some whales exposed to sonar show evidence of internal ear hemorrhaging similar to that found in divers who have suffered from the “bends” or decompression sickness, according to the science journal, Nature.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates intense active sonar harms marine mammals, causing them to strand, causing physical injury and disruptions,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The coalition is willing to go to court to block the Navy’s continued use of the sonar, however, the National Marine Fisheries Department recently granted the Navy permission to operate its new low frequency sonar system, exempting them from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the next five years.

The Navy offered these provisions to mitigate the effects of the sonar; to keep the sonar testing at least 12 miles away from the coast and to shut down the sonar if marine mammals are detected within 2 km of the testing area.

However, even with the provisions in place the whale deaths continue.

A mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas in 2000 has been linked to sonar testing in the area. Then, the last week in July, two dead whales washed ashore on Spain’s Canary Islands, a few days after NATO exercises involving 20,000 troops and more than 20 warships occurred in the area.

“There is a strong suspicion that that their deaths were related to the NATO exercises that finished a few days ago” said Tony Gallardo, environmental expert with the government of the island of Fuerteventura, located off the southern Moroccan coast.

Even the whale watching expeditions that have become so popular have begun to harm marine mammals. Studies have shown that the noise from the boats disrupts the whale’s hunting patterns, makes it harder to find food, and forces them to swim faster to get away from the boats. This causes the whales to burn off blubber, which is laden with toxins, and they end up dying from the chemicals, according to Mark Anderson, president of Orca Relief Citizen’s Alliance.

Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of three other environmental and animal rights groups, won a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, in which the Navy agreed to scale back the use of low-frequency wave technology. However, they continued the use of the mid-frequency high intensity sonar, which interferes with a marine mammal’s ability to navigate, find food, communicate and avoid predators.

“Without reasonable limits, the proliferation of high intensity sonar will cause excruciating pain, injury and death for an increasing number of marine animals,” said Frederick O’Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In the last nine years there have been 10 cases of mass strandings and whale deaths associated with mid-frequency sonar testing in the coastal waters from Greece to the Canary Islands.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands have found nitrogen bubbles in the tissues of stranded whales which exhibited the same effects as those of decompression sickness (DCS) in humans.

“The detailed examination of the mass stranded whales in the Canaries in 2002 suggests the naval sonar could induce a condition similar to DCS,” Professor Antonio Fernandez of the University of Las Palmas said.

In early July 2004, a pod of 200 deep-water melon-headed whales stampeded into the shallow waters off Kauai, Hawaii, during U.S.-Japanese naval training exercises utilizing the high intensity sonar. In the confusion, one of the whales was stranded and died.

Post mortem examinations on some whales exposed to sonar show evidence of internal ear hemorrhaging similar to that found in divers who have suffered from the “bends” or decompression sickness, according to the science journal, Nature.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates intense active sonar harms marine mammals, causing them to strand, causing physical injury and disruptions,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The coalition is willing to go to court to block the Navy’s continued use of the sonar, however, the National Marine Fisheries Department recently granted the Navy permission to operate its new low frequency sonar system, exempting them from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the next five years.

The Navy offered these provisions to mitigate the effects of the sonar; to keep the sonar testing at least 12 miles away from the coast and to shut down the sonar if marine mammals are detected within 2 km of the testing area.

However, even with the provisions in place the whale deaths continue.

A mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas in 2000 has been linked to sonar testing in the area. Then, the last week in July, two dead whales washed ashore on Spain’s Canary Islands, a few days after NATO exercises involving 20,000 troops and more than 20 warships occurred in the area.

“There is a strong suspicion that that their deaths were related to the NATO exercises that finished a few days ago” said Tony Gallardo, environmental expert with the government of the island of Fuerteventura, located off the southern Moroccan coast.

Even the whale watching expeditions that have become so popular have begun to harm marine mammals. Studies have shown that the noise from the boats disrupts the whale’s hunting patterns, makes it harder to find food, and forces them to swim faster to get away from the boats. This causes the whales to burn off blubber, which is laden with toxins, and they end up dying from the chemicals, according to Mark Anderson, president of Orca Relief Citizen’s Alliance.

Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council and a coalition of three other environmental and animal rights groups, won a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, in which the Navy agreed to scale back the use of low-frequency wave technology. However, they continued the use of the mid-frequency high intensity sonar, which interferes with a marine mammal’s ability to navigate, find food, communicate and avoid predators.

“Without reasonable limits, the proliferation of high intensity sonar will cause excruciating pain, injury and death for an increasing number of marine animals,” said Frederick O’Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In the last nine years there have been 10 cases of mass strandings and whale deaths associated with mid-frequency sonar testing in the coastal waters from Greece to the Canary Islands.

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the University of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands have found nitrogen bubbles in the tissues of stranded whales which exhibited the same effects as those of decompression sickness (DCS) in humans.

“The detailed examination of the mass stranded whales in the Canaries in 2002 suggests the naval sonar could induce a condition similar to DCS,” Professor Antonio Fernandez of the University of Las Palmas said.

In early July 2004, a pod of 200 deep-water melon-headed whales stampeded into the shallow waters off Kauai, Hawaii, during U.S.-Japanese naval training exercises utilizing the high intensity sonar. In the confusion, one of the whales was stranded and died.

Post mortem examinations on some whales exposed to sonar show evidence of internal ear hemorrhaging similar to that found in divers who have suffered from the “bends” or decompression sickness, according to the science journal, Nature.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates intense active sonar harms marine mammals, causing them to strand, causing physical injury and disruptions,” said Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The coalition is willing to go to court to block the Navy’s continued use of the sonar, however, the National Marine Fisheries Department recently granted the Navy permission to operate its new low frequency sonar system, exempting them from the Marine Mammal Protection Act for the next five years.

The Navy offered these provisions to mitigate the effects of the sonar; to keep the sonar testing at least 12 miles away from the coast and to shut down the sonar if marine mammals are detected within 2 km of the testing area.

However, even with the provisions in place the whale deaths continue.

A mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas in 2000 has been linked to sonar testing in the area. Then, the last week in July, two dead whales washed ashore on Spain’s Canary Islands, a few days after NATO exercises involving 20,000 troops and more than 20 warships occurred in the area.

“There is a strong suspicion that that their deaths were related to the NATO exercises that finished a few days ago” said Tony Gallardo, environmental expert with the government of the island of Fuerteventura, located off the southern Moroccan coast.

Even the whale watching expeditions that have become so popular have begun to harm marine mammals. Studies have shown that the noise from the boats disrupts the whale’s hunting patterns, makes it harder to find food, and forces them to swim faster to get away from the boats. This causes the whales to burn off blubber, which is laden with toxins, and they end up dying from the chemicals, according to Mark Anderson, president of Orca Relief Citizen’s Alliance.

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