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U.S. Navy's Proposed Use of a Type of Ocean Sonar has Prompted Environmental Fears-Truth!
are several emails circulating about this, but the most popular one
says it's endorsed by musician James
Taylor, actor Pierce Bronson, and adventurer/oceanographer
Jean-Michel Cousteau. It says that they are disturbed that the
Navy is going to start bombarding the oceans of the world with noise
in the form of "Low-Frequency Active" sound waves (LFA).
The sonar, which is due to be used in 80 per cent of the world's
oceans, is to detect and track enemy submarines. The signers
of the email are especially concerned about the sonar's effect on
whales and dolphins, which depend on their sensitive hearing for
survival. The email says that if any ocean life swims too
close to the devices that originate the sound waves, the powerful
emissions could destroy hearing, cause lungs or ears to hemorrhage,
and cause death. They cite an episode in The Bahamas in which
whales from four different species mysteriously beached
themselves. It was discovered that most of the whales had
hemorrhaging around the inner ear and a U.S. Navy report concluded
that the beachings were probably the result of use of mid-frequency
sonar. The email says that funding for the program is being
decided right now in congress and gives you a website to use to
register your opinion.
This is a real issue and the eRumor about James Taylor, Pierce
Bronsan, and Jean-Michel Cousteau joining together about the
controversy is true. They teamed with the Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) and Ocean Futures Society (OFS) in April,
2001 when hearings were held by the National Marine Fisheries
Service on whether the Navy would be allowed to deploy the
Critics of the sonar say a significant event occurred in the Spring
of 1991 that underscored their concerns. The Navy was using a
sonar system in exercises in the Bahamas and, according to the
New York Times (April 15, 2001), 16 beaked whales and a dolphin
became disoriented and stranded on beaches and in shallow water
around the northern islands. Most of the whales were guided
back to the open sea, but six of them and the dolphin died.
Necropsies showed the mammals had hemorrhaging around the brain and
the ears. A year later, a task force that included the Navy
concluded that it was "...highly likely..." that the
strandings were linked to the sonar. The Navy has responded by
saying that they were using a medium-frequency sonar in the Bahamas
and the one they want permits to use is a low-frequency sonar and
that they propose standards for its use that would protect and
monitor marine life.
Still, according to the U.S. Navy, whales being killed or injured by
sonar is largely unproven. Lt.
William Marks, the Navy's spokesman on sonar and marine mammal
policy, told TruthOrFiction.com that the website of the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric administration lists more than 35,000
incidents of stranded mammals over a period of ten years. Only one
of those has been conclusively linked to the use of Navy sonar--and
that's the one in the Bahamas in 1991. Lt. Marks said that
since that event, the Navy has been careful to not to operate under
the conditions that existed in the Bahamas.
A real example of the story as it has been circulated:
The three of us have never teamed up like this before. But we all share
something in common: a deep love of the ocean and marine
mammals. That's why we're very disturbed by a U.S.
military program that, if approved, will soon be
bombarding millions of whales and dolphins around the world with intense
You may have read about the U.S. Navy's "Low-Frequency
Active" (LFA) sonar
program. The military has
been testing this new, high-powered system in secret
for years. Now, the Navy wants to deploy it across 80 percent of our
planet's oceans. LFA sonar is designed to detect enemy
submarines by flooding vast expanses of the oceans
with sound. Leaving aside the military wisdom of
this sonar -- which is still in dispute -- the environmental dangers
are becoming increasingly clear.
Here's the problem: LFA noise is billions of times more intense than
known to disturb whale migration and
communication. Whales and dolphins depend on their
sensitive hearing for survival. To put it simply, a deaf whale
is a dead whale. Deafening noise from the LFA system will interfere
with the vital biological activities of marine mammals.
Scientists fear that long-term exposure to LFA could
push entire populations over the brink into extinction.
Inevitably, there will also be marine mammals unlucky enough to swim
close to LFA loudspeakers. Imagine an acoustic
wave so powerful that, even at substantial
distances, it can destroy your hearing, cause your lungs or ears
to hemorrhage, or even kill you.
We've already seen a glimpse of the resulting carnage. Last year,
from four different species stranded
themselves and died on beaches across the northern
Bahamas during a Navy military exercise. All but one of the dead
animals examined by researchers had suffered hemorrhaging around the
inner ear -- the telltale sign of acoustic trauma. The U.S.
Navy's own report concluded that it is "highly
likely" that the stranding was caused by the
use of mid-frequency active sonar. But despite this tragic event, the
Navy now wants to deploy LFA, the most extensive active
sonar system ever devised.
We know that different frequencies will affect different marine mammals
that the lower the frequency, the farther it
penetrates the ocean. We believe it is
unconscionable to expose marine mammals around the world to more
high intensity sonar. If you agree, then please join us in taking immediate
action; it will take you only a few seconds.:
Just go to http://www.nrdcaction.org/index.asp?step=2&item=515.
:The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Ocean Futures Society
have set up this web page to make it easy for
you to send electronic messages of protest to your
U.S. senators and representative. Congress is now
deciding the Navy's funding for next year -- tell them to "Turn Off
Sonar" by cutting off its funding.
And please forward this message to your family, friends and colleagues.
used web activism to help generate a million
messages of protest to Mitsubishi and, just last
year, stopped the company from destroying the last unspoiled
birthing ground of the Pacific gray whale.
Congress cannot ignore millions of us. Together, we can keep whales and
dolphins safe from high-powered sonar.Thank you for your
time and your concern.
James Taylor, Pierce Brosnan, Jean-Michel Cousteau
2 For 1
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