Air Force Wants To Deafen Whales And Dolphins Near Kauai
Introducing the U.S. Air Force Weapons - Test Plan: something that could harm or kill hundreds of dolphins, whales and potentially many other marine animals off the coast of Kauai. Scheduled to last from from September 2017 through August 2022, the plan would involve exploding about 110 munitions (bombs) each year just above or below the surface of the ocean, with some weighing as much as three hundred pounds! The stated purpose of the exercise is to give pilots practice in bombing targets.
The bombing site, roughly fifty miles west of Kauai, Hawaii, is known to be a fertile ground for cetaceans of many kinds. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, the plan could result in the harming of around 637 individuals, with 36 animals sustaining permanent hearing loss, 382 suffering temporary hearing loss, and about 219 experiencing significant change in natural behavioral patterns, such as migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding and feeding.
The Air Force stated that it does not expect any cetacean fatalities during the program, although this seems rather difficult to believe. It is also impossible for the Air Force to guarantee, despite any intentions it may have otherwise.
A petition demanding that this plan be stopped in its tracks has already gathered close to 200,000 signatures. In January, the Air Force submitted a permit application to the National Marine Fisheries Service and while the public comment period has been closed, people are still encouraged to submit opinions and concerns to NMSF at ITP.McCue@noaa.gov.