Friday, 4 April 2014

New Whale Stranding Is Painful Evidence for Naval Sonar Risks (Op-Ed)

Michael Jasny, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) | April 03, 2014 12:33pm ET

Michael Jasny is director of the NRDCMarine Mammal Project. This Op-Ed was adapted from one that appeared on the NRDC blog Switchboard. Jasny contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

On April 1, while the U.S. and other navies played war games somewhere offshore, Cuvier's beaked whales began stranding along the southern coast of Crete. Those on the scene knew right away what they were dealing with, for the strandings were only the most recent in a line of similar calamities in the region, going back two decades. And in this case, as in the previous ones, all signs pointed to the U.S. Navy and its allies.

Cuvier's beaked whales are a remarkable species. They have the deepest recorded dives of all marine mammals, some descending an astonishing 9,500 feet (3,000 meters) below the water's surface before coming up for air. Favoring deep water, they don't strand nearly as often as coastal species, and they don't strand in large numbers, and they don't strand alive. 

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