Test Area Increases, With Possible Harm to Whales (USA)

The ocean update

Humpback whale. Picture THINKSTOCK Humpback whale. Picture THINKSTOCK

Monday, March 24th, 2014 (RAMONA YOUNG-GRINDLE). WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Marine Fisheries Service plans to issue another five year marine mammal harm authorization for U.S. Navy sonar and ordnance testing in the Marianas, according to an agency proposal. The Navy’s request to continue military readiness activities includes an expansion of the testing area and an increase in the expected number of exercises and ordnance over previous authorizations.

The Mariana Islands Training and Testing study area includes the existing Mariana Islands Range Complex and surrounding seas and a transit corridor between the Mariana Islands and the Navy’s Hawaii Range Complex.

The Navy requested authorization for the incidental harm to 26 species of marine mammals from exposure to sonar, underwater detonations and ship strikes.

Incidental harm to the marine mammals, many of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act and/or the Marine Mammal Protection Act, is…

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