LFA Sonar

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Kevin H2O on June 13, 2003 at 15:59:17:

Fellow Marine Lovers~

Much of what follows has been taken from a news release provided by the Natural Resources Defense Council, so consider the source. Iím an admitted liberal, especially when it comes to the environment. Strange that you get labeled a liberal when you want to take a conservative approach toward caring for the planet, eh? So, youíve got my bias upfront.

Iíve done some looking around on the web, and IMHO I am pretty convinced LFA sonar is a dangerous thing. If this is a cause that moves you to open your wallet, thereís a link at the bottom to make a contribution to the NRDCís legal fund. At the very least, Iíd encourage you to do some research and choose a position on this issueÖ I feel itís worth it.

==== NRDC Press Release (toned down a bit by me) ====

In about two weeks, an important case will be heard in federal court that is critical to the future of marine mammals.

This court case is the culmination of an eight-year campaign to stop the U.S. Navy from deploying its Low Frequency Active (LFA) sonar system -- a new technology that blasts ocean habitats with noise so intense it can maim, deafen and even kill marine mammals.

Last year, the current administration issued the Navy a permit to deploy LFA sonar over 75 percent of the world's oceans. By some estimates up to 12 percent of every single marine mammal species found anywhere in the ocean could be harmed.

However, before that could happen, the Natural Resources Defense Council won a last minute reprieve when a federal judge blocked global deployment of the sonar system until a full trial could be held and all the evidence heard.

The upcoming proceeding will begin on June 30th. It will determine whether this technology is approved for use in our planet's oceans -- or whether it should be permanently blocked until the Navy can demonstrate that LFA will not cause serious harm to ocean life.

At close range, the system's shock waves are so intense they can destroy a whale's eardrums, cause its lungs to hemorrhage, and even kill. Further away, LFA noise can cause permanent hearing loss in marine mammals after a single transmission. At 40 miles away, LFA noise is still so intense it can disrupt the mating, feeding, nursing and other essential activities of marine mammals.

Two years ago, the testing of high-intensity Navy sonar in mid-frequency range caused a mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas. Whales from at least three different species died, their inner ears bleeding from the explosive power of the sonar signal.

Last month, a group of biologists off the coast of Washington state witnessed a "stampede" of distressed marine mammals as a U.S. destroyer, operating a powerful mid-frequency sonar system, passed through. Over the next several days, ten porpoises were discovered stranded on nearby beaches.

The dangers go beyond marine mammals. In preparing for the upcoming trial, NRDC has uncovered the shocking results of the Navy's own LFA research on human scuba divers. One Navy test subject was exposed to 14 minutes of LFA noise at 160 decibels -- far below the level of 235 decibels at which the actual LFA system will be operating. The diver experienced uncontrollable shaking in his limbs and lapsed into a seizure-like state that recurred periodically for days.

If you want to make a contribution to the legal fund to fight LFA, you can go to:


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