The U.S. Navy recently released an environmental impact statement (EIS) draft that, among other topics, outlines a range of sonar and explosives testing activities the Navy might conduct around Hawaii and off the coast of Southern California. These activities, according to the study, could harm marine mammals living in those waters.
Buried in the in-depth,1,800-page report are tables approximating how many animals could face harm from the testing and what types of damage they might sustain. While the complexity of the data makes it somewhat incomprehensible to the average reader, it appears as though some degree of auditory trauma, due primarily to sonar testing, appears to be the most common potential injury to the mammals. However, the report acknowledges that direct injury and death can occur from explosives testing.
“Keep in mind that injury or exposure numbers represent theoretical worst cases and do not take into account the protective measures the Navy uses whenever it trains or tests,” says Mark Matsunaga, a spokesperson for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. The measures, Matasunaga notes, were developed in collaboration with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Through July 10, members of the public will have a chance to comment on the draft EIS in person at “open house” meetings scheduled by the Navy for June, during which experts will explain the science and answer questions. All from 5–8 p.m., on and at:
– Tue., June 12, Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria, Lihue, Kauai
– Wed., June 13, Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria, Kahului, Maui
– Thu., June 14, East Hawaii Cultural Center, Hilo, HI
– Fri., June 15, McKinley High School Cafeteria, Honolulu