WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Marine Fisheries Service will allow the U.S. Air Force to proceed with a naval explosive ordnance disposal school, even though it may harm bottlenose dolphins.
The school would be near the Air Force base in Elgin, Fla.
New regulations adopted by the NMFS allow non-lethal harassment of the dolphins incidental to operation of the school for five years.
The regulations prescribe the permissible methods of harassment – mostly resulting from underwater sound waves – specified time frames and other means of harassment that would have the least impact possible on the dolphins, according to NMFS.
The NMFS issued similar authorizations from 2005 to 2008, but the Air Force has not conducted any activities to harass the dolphins under those authorizations.