Sonar or Later
It is highly likely that Sonar transmissions from U.S. Navy ships caused an unprecedented number of whales and a dolphin to strand themselves in shallow waters off northern Bahama islands last March, according to a task force from the Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service. But the Navy is still hoping to get a permit from the NMFS for a new sonar system to detect submarines in 80 percent of the world’s oceans. The Navy says the system would use low-frequency sonar waves, as opposed to the higher-frequency waves that have been shown to cause a reaction in whales. But the Natural Resources Defense Council says the system still hasn’t been adequately tested. Ken Balcomb, a marine mammalogist, says low frequencies can create the same damage in whales’ air cavities as higher frequencies, leading to hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones.