04/12/2012: "Groups Challenge Navy Over Sonar Events"
In the wake of several controversial, well-publicized events: a Canadian sonar exercise off Puget Sound, U.S. Navy sonar testing at Everett, Washington, and the death of a young female killer whale from unknown causes,. 18 scientific, conservation, and tribal organizations sent a letter to Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy.
The letter (pdf 50\k file) asks the Navy to improve protections for southern resident killer whales during training.
Southern resident killer whales are considered an endangered species under U.S. law. Though an icon of the Pacific Northwest, only about 80 individual whales remain alive in the wild.
The letter calls on the Navy to bar the use of high-intensity sonar in the whales’ critical habitat, and to provide information on the Navy’s use of sonar, other acoustic sources, and explosives prior to the recent killer whale death. A similar request to keep sonar out of critical habitat has been made in a statement (pdf 153\k file) from 20 killer whale scientists.