Navy Monitoring Indicates No Behavioral Disturbances from Sonar


The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published Federal Register notice seeking public comment on a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take marine mammal’s incidental to the training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing study area from January 2014 through January 2019.  NMFS proposes to authorize these Navy Takes pursuant to the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.  NMFS must receive any comments and information no later than March 11, 2013.

In its Federal Register notice at page 7115, NMFS explains that Navy monitoring during past exercises “indicate no behavioral disturbances”:

            "The Navy has submitted reports from more than 60 major exercises conducted in the HRC and SOCAL, and off the Atlantic Coast, that indicate no behavioral disturbance was observed. One cannot conclude from these results that marine mammals were not harassed from sonar and other active acoustic sources, as a portion of animals within

            The area of concern were not seen (especially those more cryptic, deep diving species, such as beaked whales or Kogia spp.) and the full series of behaviors that would   more accurately show an important change is not typically seen (i.e., only the surface behaviors are observed). Plus, some of the non-biologist lookouts might not be well-qualified to characterize behaviors. However, one can say that the animals that were observed did not respond in any of the obviously more severe ways, such as panic, aggression, or anti-predator response.”

Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice