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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



US Navy to kill whales with sonar?

Again back in the land of real conservation issues, an opinion piece by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Michael Jasny suggests that:
... the Navy is proposing to abandon its commitment to safeguard whales and their habitat from high-intensity sonar. It has submitted an application to the California Coastal Commission to conduct two years of intensive MFA sonar training off Southern California without committing to measures that effectively protect the state's rich marine life. The commission is scheduled to make a final decision next week. The proposed training would take place in some of the most diverse and biologically rich waters off the continental United States — waters that host blue whales, humpbacks, gray whales, dolphins, porpoises and other sensitive and iconic California species.
We'll have to see what happens with this one.

The IWC Scientific Committee had this to say of miltary sonar (2004, pg 44)
In conclusion, the Committee agrees that there is now compelling evidence implicating military sonar as a direct impact on beaked whales in particular. The Committee also agrees that evidence of increased sounds from other sources, including ships and seismic activities, were cause for serious concern. The potential for cumulative or synergistic effects of sounds, as found in other taxa, with non-acoustic anthropogenic stressor was noted.

Whilst noting that there is considerably more scientific work needed, the Committee emphasises that measures to protect species and habitats cannot always wait for scientific certainty, as encoded in the precautionary principle. This is especially true for cases involving the exclusion of an endangered population from its habitat.

As a result, the Committee agrees that noise should remain a standing priority item on its agenda.

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