Letters to the Editor
Readers write about how the US Navy impacts marine mammals, why some Somalis have turned to piracy, Obama's role in Europe, and the Taliban in Pakistan.
The US Navy works to share the sea with marine mammalsSkip to next paragraph
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Regarding the April 2 Opinion piece, "Smarten up naval sonar to save the whales": This commentary, by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Joel R. Reynolds, does not accurately portray the United States Navy's continuing commitment to the protection of marine species while training with active sonar, and misleadingly omits important facts that provide context.
The commentary's mention of NOAA Fisheries' authorization of marine mammal "takes" during Navy sonar training is particularly misleading. More than 99 percent of the takes authorized for sonar training in the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training study area involve only "behavioral" effects, rather than any temporary or permanent physical effect on marine species.
Safeguarding marine mammals during training and operations is an integral part of Navy culture and operations. Sailors serve to defend not only our freedom, but also our values, which includes a healthy and robust natural environment. We employ dozens of protective measures when using active sonar, measures developed using the best available science and in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for marine mammal protection.
The Navy is a world leader in advancing scientific understanding of marine mammals and the effects of ocean sound. Over the past five years, the Navy has invested more than $100 million to support ongoing research at world-class scientific institutions such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of St. Andrews (Scotland), and others. Our increasing knowledge about marine mammals and sound will help ensure the continuing effectiveness of the protective measures employed.
The US Navy will continue to share the sea in a responsible manner with the increasing populations of northern right whales and other marine mammals. To learn more about the Navy's efforts to protect marine mammals, go to www.navy.mil/oceans.
John P. Quinn
Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Readiness Division
Somali piracy is the result of desperation