Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Sonar used to detect enemy subs could be driving whales and dolphins to their deaths, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The Associated Press reports:
The sonar "is capable of flooding thousands of square miles of ocean with dangerous levels of noise pollution" according to the lawsuit.

The Navy settled a similar lawsuit two years ago by agreeing to limit the peacetime use of experimental low-frequency sonar to specific areas along the eastern seaboard of Asia.

The new lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other plaintiffs seeks a court order to curb mid-frequency sonar, the Navy's most common method of detecting enemy submarines.

At a news conference, NRDC spokesman Daniel Hinerfeld said the group recognized the Navy's need to detect enemies but wants sonar used more carefully.

"We're not trying to shut them down," Hinerfeld said. "There are all sorts of simple practices you can take to minimize the impact of sonar on whales and other marine life."

The environmentalists want the Navy to use harmless passive sonar to locate mammals before using mid-frequency sonar. They also want the Navy to avoid migration and calving areas and to ramp up sonar systems gradually so that the animals have time to flee.
Until the dolphins and whales grow thumbs, they're pretty much at our mercy.

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