A draft federal report states that the Navy’s plan for testing submarines, torpedoes and other weapons systems across the East Coast will have only “negligible” impacts on marine mammals. However, last July, 20 environmental groups signed a letter saying that the testing, which involves active sonar, air-to-surface missile practice and other activities, would cause “unprecedented harm” to marine life.
The disagreement about the consequences of the training activities continues.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) writes that “based on that preliminary determination, it does not necessarily expect the exercises to result in serious injury or death to marine mammals.” The draft report does include that the health of marine mammals depends on the Navy following specific safety guidelines.
According to a NMFS statement, “These measures should minimize the potential for injury or death and significantly reduce the number of marine mammals exposed to levels of sound likely to cause temporary loss of hearing.”
Michael Jasny, senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, disagrees.
“The Navy has estimated that its new activities would kill hundreds and injure thousands of marine mammals off the east coast,” Jasny said. “Reading the administration’s response to this is like watching someone try to hide an elephant behind a shower curtain. When endangered species are at stake, ‘Nothing here, folks’ doesn’t cut it.”
To learn more:
- Check out this article from Stars and Stripes: Navy weapons testing safe for marine mammals, report finds
- Read this release from NOAA: NOAA seeks comment on regulations to protect marine mammals during Navy training and testing in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico
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