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New Rules, Same Deafening Response

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Deafening Sound of Freedom

The National Marine Fisheries Service is in the process of updating how they assess acoustic harm to marine mammals. The proposed draft guidelines that NMFS developed offer a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the guidelines fall short in several significant ways, leaving NMFS with a great deal of work left to do.

These new guidelines represent a relatively fast change in how NMFS assesses acoustic harm. As recently as 10 or 15 years ago, there was still significant scientific debate over whether sound was a serious source of injury for marine mammals. The mass stranding that occurred in the Bahamas in 2000, while not the first example of sound related strandings, is one of the earlier and better known recognitions by the federal government that Navy sonar was the likely cause. Since then increasing scientific research has further supported the idea that our sound is causing not only short…

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