Letters to the Editor
Readers write about how the US Navy impacts marine mammals, why some Somalis have turned to piracy, Obama's role in Europe, and the Taliban in Pakistan.
The US Navy works to share the sea with marine mammals
Regarding the April 2 Opinion piece, "Smarten up naval sonar to save the whales": This commentary, by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Joel R. Reynolds, does not accurately portray the United States Navy's continuing commitment to the protection of marine species while training with active sonar, and misleadingly omits important facts that provide context.
The commentary's mention of NOAA Fisheries' authorization of marine mammal "takes" during Navy sonar training is particularly misleading. More than 99 percent of the takes authorized for sonar training in the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training study area involve only "behavioral" effects, rather than any temporary or permanent physical effect on marine species.
Safeguarding marine mammals during training and operations is an integral part of Navy culture and operations. Sailors serve to defend not only our freedom, but also our values, which includes a healthy and robust natural environment. We employ dozens of protective measures when using active sonar, measures developed using the best available science and in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for marine mammal protection.