Re the Jan. 30 story Groups appeal ruling to let Navy train near whales: The U.S. Navy’s explanation that “only an occasional aquatic mammal will be killed” by its offshore underwater tests in the Atlantic ignores a basic biological fact: In the hunt for food, land-based mammals depend largely upon their sense of hearing and smell. So it is in the ocean.
Water is denser than air, therefore sound travels for great distances, particularly important in the vast ocean. The bursts of sound created by explosions and super-sonar blasts, at tremendous energy levels, might not not kill directly, but they will damage hearing organs. This will inevitably lead to animals not being able to locate food. They will get weaker and starve. Good for sharks, bad for porpoise and whales.
We put our atomic tests underground to protect human mammals. I suggest that one the people who are so certain that these tests are safe be in the water in SCUBA gear while the tests are being conducted. It is time we recognize that these are not fish. Stop using them as a disposable commodity and treat them with the humanity they deserve. Anyone who recently saw an Internet the dolphin coming to a swimming diver for help in removing line caught on its flipper must realize that, “Thou shalt not kill” is an applicable tenet for these thinking, feeling animals.
Stephen Carner, Miami