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Last updated: March 23, 2015

Navy Seeks to Renew Permits to Use Sonar in the Pacific Ocean
Posted: 1 February 2015
Dead fin whale in Point Loma on May 18th, 2014.
A dead fin whale in Point Loma in San Diego on May 18th, 2014. Unknown cause of death. Photo by: San Diego 6.

The Navy’s current 5-year permit for using sonic cannons in the Pacific Ocean and conducting excercises like detonating bombs expires this year, 2015. The Navy must request authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Marine Mammals Protection Act since explosive detonations, sonar (sound waves) and vessel strikes have the potential to disturb, injure or kill marine mammals, writes Phuong Le for the Associated Press on Sunday, February 1st, 2015. Environmental groups are worried that the Navy is expanding training exercises without increasing their efforts to reduce the impacts on marine life.

When asked, a Navy spokesperson denied that the Navy's training exercises with explosives and sound cannons underwater are harmful to marine life, however years of whales turning up dead on the beach from unnatural causes is evidence that they are actually doing terrible harm to all kinds of dolphins and whales including orcas, right whales and other sea creatures. As one environmentalist asked in her 2013 article, how many more cetaceans have to die for war games? In the Pacific Ocean, the Navy wants to conduct 30 bombing exercises a year, air to surface missile exercises, and anti-submarine sonar activities. Navy spokespeople continue to deny to the public and news reporters that Sonar harms whales although abundant proof exists: see this link for an example of harm done to marine mammals near sonar sites in San Diego, CA in 2008: Champions for Cetaceans/navy sonar.

Andrea Boggs

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