According to a post in the Navy Times, training and testing will likely “inadvertently” kill hundreds of whales and dolphins and wound thousands in the next five years.
Most of the damage will be done by explosives, though some might come from testing sonar or animals being hit by ships. Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, the Navy’s energy and environmental readiness division director explained that while they use simulators when possible, sailors must also train in real life conditions, and the training just kills dolphins and whales; bummer.
“Without this realistic testing and training, our sailors can’t develop or maintain the critical skills they need or ensure the new technologies can be operated effectively.”
Just off the coast of Hawaii and Southern California, the reports said the naval activities may cause 2,039 serious injuries, 1.86 million temporary injuries and 7.7 million instances of behavioral change (such as swimming in other directions).
They also reported that training with live munitions is scheduled to take place from just 2014 to 2019 in the waters off of the East Coast, Southern California, Hawaii, and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ken Balcomb, from the Center for Whale Research in Washington, says that even protected waters, home to endangered species, are regularly bombed:
“There’s been a number of whales over the past years that have washed ashore with what’s usually described as blunt-force trauma. Many of them—and I’ve seen four myself—are consistent with a blast-type trauma of this nature.”
This isn’t the first time the Navy is associated with severe wildlife threats – in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the Navy’s use of sonar, even though it has been shown to cause beachings, hearing loss, and disorientation in dolphins, whales, and seals. In the justification, the Supreme Court argued that the training of the Navy is more important than marine health.
What can you even say about this? What can you even do about this? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know; the Navy isn’t gonna just give up or modify their training to protect wildlife. The Navy will just go on and do their thing, and to be honest, I don’t think the US is a singulary example. Things like this just make it seem like we’re living in a wicked type of futuristic dystopia.