Last week, we reported on Ocean Care’s laudable new campaign, “Silent Oceans,” which aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of sonar on sensitive marine animals. Manmade sound waves drown out the noises that marine animals rely on for their survival, frequently causing serious injury, deafness, and death.
And now, the National Marine Fisheries Service has just approved a new five-year military sonar scheme that is predicted to cripple and deafen millions of marine animals in the oceans around Hawaii and Southern California. While they have claimed that the numbers of whales, dolphins, and other animals who are set to suffer at the hands of this scheme will be kept to a minimum, this has been angrily refuted by animal rights and environmental groups.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says that over 9,593, 430 instances of partial or complete hearing loss, as well as significant injuries and disruptions of vital behavior, will result – representing an eleven-fold increase on the amount of harm perpetuated by the Navy during its last five years of oceanic training.
Joel Reynolds, of the NRDC, said in January that he was “at a loss to explain how the Fisheries Service justifies permitting this amount of harm as ‘protecting marine animals,’ but I do know its approval violates federal law, as described at length in a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council.”
An online petition to stop this sonar plan has garnered 33,440 signatures to date. Meanwhile, actor Pierce Brosnan has also lent his voice to a NRDC campaign video, pointing out that whales and other marine animals rely on their sense of hearing to locate food, find a mate, and connect with other pod members. When a sonar blast or explosion – often thousands of times more powerful than a jet engine – fills their ears, the whale loses a vital tool of survival. He says, alarmingly, that “in the darkened sea, a deaf whale is a dead whale.”