The bi-annual RIMPAC exercise is gearing up and growing concern over the Navy's use of active sonar is getting environmentalist's panties in a wad. The Honolulu Advertiser ran a lengthy article on the subject yesterday and with good cause. It does appear that there can be some deliterious affects on marine mammals from high intensity active transmissons.
There have been an increasing number of whale groundings and strandings in the past 6 years all over the world and NOOA has been trying to link them to active sonar exercises. In July, 2004 residents of Kauai awoke to over 200 "melon-headed" whales swimming dangerously close to land. Residents jumped in their canoes and kayaks in an attempt to drive the animals back out to sea. The melon-heads were noticably disoriented and "stressed", probably becuase they were being refered to as "melon-headed", something the species especially dislikes. They inform the other marine mammals they prefer to be called "bulbously sexy".
All over the world marine mammals seem to be beaching themselves conspicuously close to the time frame of local naval exercises. Some scientists say there could be a link while others vehemently support their claim. The Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC), who has become the voice of unintelligable marine mammals everywhere, states that active sonar is harmful, and in extreme cases deadly, to marine mammals. When asked about other marine life, non-marine mammals specifically, an NRDC official stated, "Who gives a shit about fish? I mean, hey, they just aren't as cute as the dolphins or as cool to watch as the whales. Fish are our food for a reason; they are very ugly. Are you trying to compare a tuna to a delphinus delphi? Puhleeze. We are here to protect the cute denizens of the deep from active sonar."
Scientists at the Marine Mammal Research Program here in Hawaii have actually measured the hearing of 12 different species of marine mammals in order to be able to send a slam-dunk message to the navy and to not only prove themselves right about active sonar but to also give themselves an ego boost ever since the science community in general found out that Lucy is more ape-like than human.
While scientists struggle to find a more concrete definition of "harrassment" in relation to maximum value of the sound levels that can be used in the exercises, 190 dB seems to be the agreed upon value for now. In an effort to appease the dolphin and whale lovers, most of whom masterbate to the centerfold of the monthly magazine Marine Mammal Mischief, a sister magazine to the more popular Swank, the navy has also agreed to scout the local operational areas for sounds emitting from sea life- well, the cute ones anyway - and will stop all active sonar if the animals are detected. In fact, the U.K. Navy has just launched a 1.3 million, uh, ok, not dollars, but... well, I can't find the symbol for U.K. pounds, but anyway, it's a shitload of money that they are spending to develop a sonar system specifically for the detection of marine mammals. Money well spent, I'm sure.
Interstingly enough, 2 whales were killed, one of which was an extremely cute baby humpback, off the coast of Maui when they wree struck by boats. The whale watching season brings thousands of visitors to the islands. There is supposed to be a 100 yard restriction but sometimes the lovable whales let their curiosity get the best of them. Perhaps controlling the tourism industry's disturbance of the marine mammals is in order, but it is the Navy who causes, allegedly, the most damage to these animals. Plus, tourism brings in money so if a few stupid whales get run over in the process then boat drivers can just say it is part of the tour and whale-ka-bobs will be served at a post-tour get together on the pier.
The U .S. Navy is under scrutiny from scientists, Greenpeace, tree huggers, whale and dolphin huggers, and anyone else that can thumb the military for yet one more environmentally unsubstantiated outrage. Lawsuits are pending and research results are being examined in the Active Sonar vs. Dipshits case that could very well limit the navy's use of sonar to shore-based training facilities where nothing but the electrons that pulse through the circuit boards will be distrubed. Coincidentally, a new protest group named Committee Against the Molestation but Ethical and Loving Treatment Of Electrons, or CAMELTOE, has just filed for legitimacy along with the new group, Coalition of Bush Lied Supporters, or JACKASSES.
One U.S. Navy sonarman that I talked to had this to say, "I think using active sonar is gay anyway. Unless you really need to use it to find a really quiet diesel submarine, diesel subs that Russia keeps selling to every piss ant nation who has the cash, and could threaten any nation that has a coastline, then don't use it."
When asked about the active sonar training the navy conducts as being essential to the growing diesel submarine threat a U.S. Navy non-official was overheard as saying, "Are you fucking retarded? We are supposed to be able to just find one of these rogue subs on the spot with the limited training we do have, and now some agencies are trying to restrict us even more? How the hell are we supposed to..."
The sailor was cutoff with an inconspicuous kick to his shin.
Well, whatever the outcome of the litigation and science involved with active sonar and its effects on cute and lovable marine creatures, you can be rest assured that these animals will be well cared for even as the insertion force of a communist controlled country storms an unsuspecting non-communist beach in the middle of the night.
If you will excuse me, I still have 40 lbs of melon-headed whale I need to shish-ke-bob.