[MARMAM] settlement reached in Navy sonar case

Jasny, Michael mjasny at nrdc.org
Mon Sep 14 16:36:46 PDT 2015


Last year, a number of conservation groups filed litigation in U.S. federal court challenging Navy sonar and underwater explosives activity off Southern California and Hawaii.  As I reported last March, the Court ruled in favor of plaintiffs on multiple grounds.

Since then, our groups and the Navy have engaged in intensive negotiations to see if we could come to agreement on a court order that protects marine mammals while meeting national security needs.  The parties reached agreement in principle last month, and today the Court entered our agreement as an Order.

For the first time, notably, the Navy has agreed to restrict and limit mid-frequency sonar (and explosives) activities off the U.S. west coast and to expand restrictions off Hawaii beyond humpback whales.  The settlement protects blue whale foraging grounds off San Diego County, beaked whale habitat around California's Channel Islands, and waters around the Big Island, Maui, and Molokai that host numerous small, resident populations of odonocetes.  Other provisions are intended to reduce ship-strike risk for large whales and secure research funds for beaked whale populations off Southern California.

The settlement is the product of genuinely constructive, good-faith discussions among the parties: the Navy, NMFS, and our organizations.  My sincere hope is that we can extend the same constructive effort to other areas where sonar activities are concentrated.

Please let me know if you'd like a copy of the settlement.


Michael jasny
Director, Marine Mammal Protection

4479 W. 5th Avenue
Vancouver, bc v6r1s4
T 604.736.9386
c 310.560.5536
mjasny at NRDC.ORG<mailto:mjasny at NRDC.ORG>

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