ACTION ALERT: Stop the Navy’s Ocean Sonar

October 25th, 2006 - by admin

Mark Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project – 2006-10-25 00:38:28

Activist E-Mail Alert for Navy LFA Sonar Campaign

The US Navy is moving forward with plans for expanding Low Frequency Active (LFA) Sonar, getting rid of the current injunction in place due to Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC’s) federal lawsuit, and building two more LFA Sonar ships to add to their current fleet of two.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed issuing the Navy an “incidental take” permit — “take” being a technical, legal term for kill, harass, and/or interfere with their behavior, which are all prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) unless NMFS issues a permit.


There is a short public comment period — Comments are due (postmarked by) October 30, 2006.

Comments can be mailed to:
P. Michael Payne, Chief
Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225
• E-mail comments can be sent to:

Refer to: Federal Register Notice I.D. 062206A; Vol. 71, No. 188; September 28, 2006.

In your comments, please state in your own words why you are opposed to widespread use of LFA Sonar and a doubling of the fleet. Some points you can make:

• LFA Sonar, at full volume, is, according to the Navy’s own figures, as loud as standing five feet away from the space shuttle on take-off. Many environmentalists and scientists believe the Navy’s sound-level figures are too conservative.

• LFA Sonar pulses, due to the use of low frequency sound waves, can travel thousands of miles underwater, likely causing disruption of marine life over thousands of square miles.

• We know that many sources of intense sound have caused serious damage to the ears and tissues of whales and dolphins, resulting in large-scale strandings in many areas used for training with military sonars and, in a few cases, airgun arrays used for seismic testing.

LFA Sonar, is certainly as intense and will likely harm a much wider area of marine life (low frequency sounds travel farther underwater and dissipate energy more slowly than mid- or high frequency sounds).

• Evidence is growing that fisheries are also seriously damaged by intense sources of sound underwater, potentially harming a major world food source.

• The Navy proposes to allow LFA Sonar use throughout 80% of the world’s oceans (100% of the world’s oceans in times of war, conflict or “heightened alert”) and double the number of LFA Sonar vessels in the world’s oceans.

• Many governments and scientific bodies, including the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission and the United Nations Law of the Sea deliberations, have expressed concern over the environmental impacts of intense military sonars and other underwater sources of intense human-caused noise.


Mark J. Palmer is the Assistant Director of the International Marine Mammal Project and the Director of Wildlife Alive.
For further information, contact Mark J. Palmer, International Marine Mammal Project, Earth Island Institute , (415) 788-3666 x139.