FW: Alert: Sound in the sea
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 94 15:36:00 PST
Subject: FW: Alert: Sound in the sea
Forwarded-by: Anne McDuffie <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Greg Lowney
Subj: PseudoScience Marches On Section: Community Square
To: All Tuesday, March 22, 1994 08:22:12 PM
From: Joel Preisler, 72767,401 #199967
I'm saddened to report that today (3/22), the LA Times reports on its front
page that researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San
Diego, California have proposed one of the most astoundingly stupid and
potentially destructive experiments it's ever been my displeasure to read
about in advance.
To be funded largely by DOD, the proposed $35 million experiment is
designed to test whether the Pacific Ocean's temperature is rising due to
global warming, and will involve the placement of loudspeakers on the
ocean floor. One set is to be situated about 25 miles offshore of Big
Sur, California (well within the southern flank of the Monterey Marine
Sanctuary) at a depth of 850 meters, and another on the ocean floor off
the so-called "Garden Island" of Kauai, Hawaii.
These loudspeakers will be used to transmit some sort of low frequency (but
not so low as to be inaudible to humans, apparently) sound (described as
resembling the sound made by a bowling ball rolling down a lane) at a
volume of 195 db -- 10,000,000 (yes, that's 10 million) times louder than
the 120 db level at which humans suffer damage from sounds transmitted
through the air, and loud enough to be heard in New Zealand -- for 20
minutes every 4 hours over a 2 year trial period, following which the
program would be expanded to include a network of transmitters and
receivers around the Pacific that would be operated on a simi- lar
schedule until the year 2004.
Scripps estimates its broadcasts off the California coast alone would
result in a maximum potential "take" -- their euphamism for the number of
marine animals that will die because this ear-shattering sound will
permanently destroy their hearing and thus their ability to navigate,
hunt, and communicate -- of 26,000 whales belonging to 10 species; 406,000
dolphins belonging to 8 species; and 245,000 seals, sea lions, and
elephant seals. And that's during the FIRST YEAR of the experiment!
As one expert quoted in the article states, "A deaf whale is a dead whale."
A second expert estimates that the feeding and mating behavior of a
half-million marine mammals in the Pacific (in addition to those killed)
may be permanently and adversely affected by the constant level of noise
pollution to be produced by the Scripps experiment.
At present, the Scripps application to proceed is before the National
Marine Fisheries Service's permit office. The LA Times article was
apparently prompted by a hearing on the project that is to be held by the
NMFS in Silver Springs, Maryland TODAY (3/22).
Scripps is applying for a permit to exempt it from any and all existing
federal regulations that protect marine mammals from harrassment, hunting
and killing by humans. The NMFS' decision as to whether or not to grant
the permit will be forthcoming very shortly -- in a matter of weeks --
because the experiment is currently scheduled to begin this Spring.
I'm no "Save the Whales" nut, but I personally have no intention of sitting
off quietly on the sidelines on this one, either. In my opinion, this is
an example of federally-financed scientific expediency at its worst.
Aren't Scripps' scientists quite capable of developing/deploying an
equally affordable way to take these admittedly-important measurements --
a passive sensor net of some sort -- that won't require the taking of any
marine life, let alone the incredible numbers of already-protected species
estimated in Scripps' own proposal? And if not, should these people
really be described as scientists at all?
Time is short; the window for public comment closes Friday.
Call everybody you can think of, and then ten more you can't. You can use
E-Mail and Congressgrams to contact the President, Vice President, your
Senators and Representative -- but better yet, call them all personally.
The telephone number for the Administrator of the National Marine
Fisheries Service, where the permit is under consideration, is
P.S. - Please feel free to redistribute this message -anywhere- you want.
Subj: PseudoScience - Update Section: Community Square
To: Joel Preisler, 72767,401 Thursday, March 24, 1994 10:37:04 AM
From: Edward P. Butler, 76344,2250 #200550
Got through to the number - bad news is you have to mail or fax to be
counted, so fax to 301-713-0376 or write (postmark tomorrow is OK) to 1315
East-West Highway, Room 13130, Silver Springs MD 20910, att. Carol
Go to it!
© 1994 Peter Langston