NMFS Proposes Take Rules for Navy Sonar in Hawaii
On June 23, 2008, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service proposed rules that authorize the U.S. Navy to "take" marine mammals incidental to training activities conducted within the Hawaii Range Complex for the period December 2008 through December 2013. The rules are proposed pursuant to NMFS' authority under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NMFS summarizes the Navy's requested authorization as follows:
"NMFS received an application from the Navy
requesting authorization for the take of 24 species of marine mammals
incidental to upcoming Navy training activities to be conducted within
the HRC, which covers 235,000 nm around the Main Hawaiian Islands...,
over the course of 5 years. These training activities are classified as military readiness
activities. The Navy states that these training activities may incidentally take marine mammals present within the HRC by exposing them to sound from mid-frequency or high frequency active sonar (MFAS/ HFAS) or to underwater detonations at levels that NMFS associates with the take of marine mammals. The Navy requests authorization to take individuals of 24 species of marine mammals by Level B Harassment.
Further, though they do not anticipate it to occur, the Navy requests
authorization to take, by injury or mortality, up to 10 individuals
each of 10 species over the course of the 5-year period (bottlenose
dolphin, Kogia spp., melon-headed whale, pantropical spotted dolphin,
pygmy killer whale, short-finned pilot whale, striped dolphin, and
Cuvier's, Longman's, and Blainville's beaked whale)."
Navy sonar use is controversial and frequently ends up in court. The United States Supreme Court has granted review to the Navy on a case which restricted the Navy's sonar use. This case was decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Click hereto read NMFS' Federal Register notice of proposed rules