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New Study: “Sonar Deafens Dolphins”, or, Sonar Impacts Have Been “Vastly Overestimated”??

April 9, 2009

A study published this week in the British journal Biology Letters has raised a bit of a ruckus, with headlines suggesting that it confirms that sonar can deafen dolphins (even Nature and New Scientist ran such heads).  The paper is a brief report (3pp) on a study in which a captive dolphin was exposed to […]

Navy Training Spurs Public Concerns, Myths

April 2, 2009

Public hearings on the US Navy’s Northwest Training Range Complex have turned, predictably enough, into a circus of public outrage and Navy insistence that no big changes are planned.  While it’s true that the training being proposed is little different than that which has been ongoing for many years (decades) off the Pacific Northwest coast, with little […]

NMFS Gives Sonar OK for Atlantic Coast

January 27, 2009

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service has formally given the Navy its seal of approval for the third of the Navy’s “Big 3” sonar training EISs, just in the nick of time as the Navy’s 2-year national security exemption expires.  The Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training (AFAST) EIS, along with the recently approved EISs covering Hawaii […]

Scientists Call Strongly for More Stringent Safety Thresholds for Sonar Exposure

November 15, 2008

  This is an AEI lay summary of the following academic paper: Parsons, Dolman, Wright, Rose, Burns. Navy sonar and cetaceans: Just how much does the gun need to smoke before we act? Marine Pollution Bulletin 56 (2008) 1248–1257. This paper represents a clarion call by several biologists who are convinced that we now have […]

AEI News in Context: Supreme Court Sonar Ruling

November 13, 2008

What does it mean? How will this ruling affect the ongoing debate as the Navy rolls out its regional EISs to govern sonar training in offshore ranges around the US coastlines and Pacific ocean? It’s interesting to note that the Navy did not appeal two aspects of the lower courts’ safety measures: establishing a 12-mile […]

Supreme Court to Hear Sonar Case October 8

October 1, 2008

Oral arguments on the California sonar case will take place before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 8, in the culmination of perhaps the most convoluted sonar challenge to date. The case began as a simple NEPA challenge to routine Naval sonar training off the Southern California coast in early 2007, and has turned into […]

AEI FactCheck: Navy/NRDC Battle of the Soundbites

August 21, 2008

Been wondering what’s up with the great “Sonar Kills Whales”/”Everything’s Fine, Just Go Away” rhetorical battle between NRDC and the Navy? As you might suspect, the reality is not nearly so neatly defined as either of them might suggest….and if you’re up for digging into it more deeply, the Acoustic Ecology Institute has just posted […]

US Navy Agrees to Geographical Limits on LFAS

August 13, 2008

A federal district court has approved a settlement between the Navy and a NRDC-led coalition of environmental groups that will limit training missions using Low-Frequency Active Sonar to several specific regions in the Paciific Ocean. Negotiations were ordered by the court after NRDC challenged the legality of permits the Navy received which would have allowed […]

US Researchers Observe Whale Reactions to Sonar; UK Report Suggests “Significant” Behavioral Responses

August 5, 2008

  As a new UK Navy report suggests that beaked whales made “potentially very significant” behavioral changes in response to mid-frequency active sonar signals, a team of scientists has just completed a pilot study that involved monitoring the detailed behavior of whales during a major Naval exercise. The UK military report details observations of whale […]

Beaked Whale Stranding at End of Month-long Navy Exercises

July 31, 2008

As the US Navy approaches the end of the month-long multinational RIMPAC training exercise in waters around Hawaii, a single Cuvier’s beaked whale has turned up on a Maui beach. After several hours of near-shore struggle, it was euthenized and taken to Hawaii Pacific University for a necropsy, to attempt to determine the cause of […]

Beaked Whales to be Tagged and Monitored During World’s Largest Joint Navy Exercise

July 20, 2008

For the first time, researchers will have the chance to see in detail how beaked whales respond to actual military active sonar exercises, thanks to two studies taking place during the biannual RIMPAC exercises around Hawaii this month. RIMPAC, the world’s largest multi-national naval exercise, involves 20,000 troops from ten countries, and runs through July. […]

Beaked Whales Strand in New Jersey, Florida; Sonar Possible, but Other Causes Likely

June 29, 2008

The appearance of beaked whales on beaches always raises concern about possible sonar impacts, since these deep-diving whales are the family that is apparently most sensitive to mid-frequency active sonar. Over the past couple of weeks, two beaked whales stranded, one dead near Atlantic City, one alive in Florida. The Florida whale has been diagnosed […]

Orcas Avoid Mid-frequency Sonar Signals, but not LFAS; Herring Unaffected

June 22, 2008

Kvadsheim, Benders, Miller, Doksaeter, Knudsen, Tyack, Nordlund, Lam, Samarra, Kleivane, Godo. Herring (slid), killer whales (spekknogger) and sonar – the 3S-2006 cruise report with preliminary results. Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). 30 April 2007  This paper reports preliminary results from an ambitious multi-national Controlled Exposure Experiment using acoustic D-tags, which allow researchers to record received […]

Japan, UK, Madagascar Strandings Spur Sonar Speculation

June 10, 2008

Reports of unusual stranding events around the world this week are each triggering questions about possible sonar connections, despite little clear evidence thus far. In Madagascar, over fifty melon-headed whales stranded and died after becoming trapped in a bay; in the UK, 26 common dolphins (mostly juviniles) died along the shores of an estuary river […]

CA Appeals Court Upholds Most Sonar Restriction

March 3, 2008

California Appeals Court Hands Navy Sonar Setback; Supreme Court May be Next – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday night rejected the Navy’s appeal of restrictions that banned high-powered sonar within 12 nautical miles of the coast and set other limits that could affect Navy training exercises to begin this month. One of […]

Hawaii Court Imposes Additional Mitigation on Sonar Trainings

March 1, 2008

Hawaii Court Adds Restrictions to Navy Sonar Training – A Federal District Court in Hawaii has issued a preliminary injunction forcing the Navy to use additional safety measures during routine mid-frequency sonar training in Hawaii waters; Judge David Ezra will hold another hearing in April to consider long-term measures. The restrictions are slightly less strict than […]

Hawaii Navy DEIS hearings in March

February 23, 2008

Public Hearings Scheduled on Supplement to Draft EIS – The Navy has released a supplement to its Draft EIS for the Hawaii Range Complex, and is holding public hearings in March to collect public comments on the new aspects. Plans still hold to release the final EIS this spring, and a Record of Decision before the […]

Deepwater dolphin strands during SoCal sonar exercises

February 22, 2008

Dolpin Strands on Navy Island at End of Recent Sonar Exercises – A single deep-water Northern right whale dolphin was found live-beached on San Nicolas Island on January 29, during a heavily scrutinized Naval training exercise. Navy personnel returned it to the water several times, but it did not survive. Curators at the Santa Barbara Museum […]

Judge rejects sonar exemptions

February 19, 2008

Federal Judge Rejects White House Exemptions for CA Sonar (updated 2/19)– The federal judge who imposed additional safety requirements on Naval mid-frequency active sonar training off the California coast has rejected the Bush administration’s attempt to exempt the Navy from the laws she was enforcing. Central to this ruling is the fact that there is […]

NJ sues Feds over academic seismic survey planned for July

July 7, 2014

The State of New Jersey has gone to federal court to block a seismic survey planned for this month fifteen miles offshore.  The survey, funded by the National Science Foundation, received its final permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service last week; the permit (similar to those issued routinely for oil and gas exploration or […]

Whales can dampen hearing: implications for ocean noise concerns

July 20, 2012

You may have noticed a recent flurry of press reports about research in Hawaii that begins to quantify a long-suspected quality of cetacean hearing: the ability to dampen hearing sensitivity so that loud sounds don’t cause damage.  Given the extremely loud volume of many whale calls, which are meant to be heard tens or hundreds […]

Feds to assess Gulf seismic surveys for MMPA compliance

June 20, 2011

Ongoing pressure from environmental groups has spurred the National Marine Fisheries Service to take a closer look at the effects of seismic surveys on whales in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Obama administration has announced that NMFS will prepare a Letter of Authorization, which will look more closely at the question of whether current seismic survey […]

AEI annual report, Ocean Noise 2009 is now available

March 15, 2010

The Acoustic Ecology Institute has published Ocean Noise 2009, the fourth in its annual series of reports reviewing new research and regulatory developments in ocean noise. AEI’s annual recaps are widely anticipated and circulated among ocean noise scientists and regulators, as well as within NGO and journalist communities. The report can be viewed or downloaded […]

Hawaii humpback sanctuary management review beginning now: will noise be on the table?

March 8, 2010

The Hawaiian Islands Humback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is beginning a review of its management plan, and ocean noise activists are pushing for sanctuary managers to bring noise issues to the forefront.  The Sanctuary was established in 1992 to help protect the humpback whale winter nursery grounds in shallow waters around several of the islands. […]

AEI Annual Ocean Noise Recap for 2008 Now Available

February 18, 2009

This year, the annual Acoustic Ecology Institute Spotlight Report on recent developments in ocean noise is too large for easy viewing on a web page. So, we’ve created a pdf version that you can download (or view in your browser if you’re a glutton for punishment). [AEI: Ocean Noise 2008 (pdf, 4MB)] Here’s what you’ll […]