WASHINGTON (CN) – The Navy will be authorized to harm marine mammals, including whales, incidental to training activities in the Northwest Training Range Complex, under regulations proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The complex is off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
The most likely cause of harm to marine mammals, according to the Navy’s application, is from mid-frequency to high-frequency active sonar and underwater detonations. The Navy predicted that up to 13 mammals per year would be exposed to levels of sound or pressure that would result in injury.
While the NMFS has authorized the take of up to 13 mammals per year, it believes that mitigation measures the Navy has agreed to will substantially reduce or eliminate the level of injury and the number of mammals hurt.
To limit the impact of its training exercises, the Navy has agreed to turn off active sonar when whales and other mammals are spotted and to maneuver vessels to keep at least 500 yards away from whales.
If issued, the proposed authorizations would run until October 2015.