Navy tests involving the detonation of explosives could result in the accidental killing of hundreds of whales and dolphins and the injuring of thousands more over the next five years.
Watch as a Humpback whale and dolphins swim together.
Navy tests involving the detonation of explosives could result in the accidental killing of hundreds of whales and dolphins and the injuring of thousands more over the next five years. According to environmental-impact statements from the military, waters off the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California, and Hawaii would be affected. Most of the animals would be blown up, though some deaths might result from sonar testing or being hit by ships during the training of sailors.
So, why not use simulators and let these beautiful sea creatures live?
"Without this realistic testing and training, our sailors can't develop or maintain the critical skills they need or ensure the new technologies can be operated effectively," said the Navy’s readiness director Rear Adm. Kevin Slates.
"But Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the Navy was underestimating the effect its activities on marine mammals.
For example, he pointed to a study by government and private sector scientists published just last month in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society showing mid-frequency active sonar can disrupt blue whale feeding. The study says feeding disruptions and the movement of whales away from their prey could significantly affect the health of individual whales and the overall health of baleen whale populations.
Jasny said the Navy's ocean activities are "simply not sustainable."
"These smaller disruptions short of death are themselves accumulating into something like death for species and death for populations," Jasny said."