WASHINGTON (CN) – Sonar from an Alaska Native company’s oil drilling survey may affect marine mammals in the Chukchi Sea between July and November.
The company has requested permission from the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service to “harass” approximately seven bowhead, 11 gray, and 21 beluga whales, and 2,118 ringed and 235 bearded seals with sonar, even though sonar exposure has been connected to whales beaching themselves and experiencing compression sickness, or “the bends,” from surfacing too quickly.
A number of humpback, minke, and killer whales, harbor porpoises, and spotted and ribbon seals also could be affected, although they are rare in the Sea. The bowhead and humpback whales are listed as endangered.
The company also will apply for permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to harass Pacific walruses and polar bears. Click here for details and other new notices and regulations.