Navy and Marine Mammals: Fact vs. Myth

Dolphins and Navy ship

3/16/12
Puget Sounds Blogs
Balcomb wants to know if young orca was bombed

Navy Response (3/22/12)

I’m a public affairs officer with the Navy’s Energy and Environmental Readiness Division.

The U.S. Navy did not conduct any training with sonar, bombs or explosives in the Pacific Northwest for at least a month before the orca known as Sooke, or L-112, stranded on February 11. Examination of the animal by state wildlife officials and private research organizations indicates the orca died just two to four days prior to stranding. Science has much to learn about marine mammals, and that is one of the reasons the Navy has become a world leader in funding marine mammal research. However, in the absence of Navy activity in the weeks before the stranding, blaming the Navy for “blowing up” the animal is irresponsible and inaccurate.

The Navy recognizes its role as an environmental steward. We view that role very seriously, and take aggressive steps minimize the potential effects of our activities on the ocean environment. We work with the National Marine Fisheries Service and other federal and state and agencies to ensure our training and testing activities comply with the law and do not pose an unnecessary risk to marine life.

To provide comments on and obtain information about the Northwest Training and Testing EIS, please attend the public scoping meetings in your area or visit the project website at Northwest Training and Testing EIS/OEIS and submit comments by April 27.

To learn more about the Navy’s efforts to protect marine mammals and the environment while performing our mission, please visit U.S. Navy Environment.

Ken Hess

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