Monday, February 11, 2008

Judge limits Navy's use of sonar to protect marine mammals


A federal judge has ruled that the Navy must stop blasting sonar in several areas of the world's oceans to protect whales and other marine mammals.


U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte found that the Navy's use of low-frequency sonar to detect submarines threatens the animals' ability to find food and avoid predators.


Five years ago, Navy officials agreed to shut off the sonar when they spot whales and other marine mammals, but the Laporte said yesterday that visual monitoring wasn't reliable enough.


The San Francisco-based judge ordered the Navy to establish sonar-free zones in several parts of the world, including the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Davidson Seamount near Monterey Bay.


Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled the President Bush cannot exempt the Navy from complying with a no-sonar zone off the Southern California coast.


Source: The Associated Press