Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Exercise Training Events Within the Hawaiian Islands Operating Area (OpArea)
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS ), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice; receipt of application and proposed incidental take authorization; request for comments.
SUMMARY: NMFS has received an application from the U.S. Navy (Navy) for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting RIMPAC ASW training events, in which submarines, surface ships, and aircraft from the United States and multiple foreign nations participate in ASW training exercises, utilizing mid-frequency sonar (1 kilohertz (kHz) to 10 kHz), in the U.S. Navy’s Hawaiian Operating Area (OpArea) in the summer of 2006.
Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an authorization to the Navy to incidentally harass several species of marine mammals during the training exercises.
DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than May 24, 2006.
ADDRESSES: Comments on the application should be addressed to
Steve Leathery, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910–3225.
NMFS is not responsible for e-mail comments sent to addresses other than the one provided here.
Comments sent via e-mail, including all attachments, must not exceed a 10–megabyte file size. A copy of the application containing a list of the references used in this document may be obtained by writing to the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed below (see
Documents cited in this notice may be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address. In March, 2006, the Navy prepared a revised 2006 Supplement on the 2002 Programmatic Environmental Assessment on RIMPAC. That document will be posted on the Navy’s website (http://www.smdcen.us/rimpac06/) concurrently with this notice and the Navy will be accepting public comments. The Navy has also prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS ) for its Undersea Warfare Training Range (USWTR), which contains detailed supporting information for some of the issues discussed in this document and may be viewed at: http://projects.earthtech.com.
For me, today started with a glaring reminder of the polarization that is rampant throughout the U.S. - from Washington all the way down to my community. The morning news was reporting that President Bush was going on the offensive in defending his secret wire tapping - that he was now seeking a political advantage which immediately told me that he would start painting his opposition as 'weak' as he always has.
Just yesterday, his Attorney General was on T.V. defending the whole operation and insisting that the Federal Government had closely examined this and determined that it was completely legal. As the interviewer failed to take any initiative, I was flabbergasted that he did not question the fact that Mr. Gonzales was a legal council to the president and in that position, likely played a key role in determining the president's policy. Exactly when did the Federal Government examine this issue? Was Mr. Gonzales the one responsible for examining the advice given to President Bush by Mr. Gonzales?
Yet, I'm reading the discussions on the web and at care2.com to see the same people willing to eat the same garbage over and over and then spew it in defense of this administration. This administration has lied to and manipulated people. It has twisted facts and this has all come to light of the American public by various methods including the testimony of former cabinet members and insiders. Yet, so many choose to believe what they prefer and discard the rest.
The same attitude is visible in my local community concernig various issues but I find it particularly discerning in the protection and safety of the voiceless amid development and growth that is out of control. People seem to be lined up on either side of the issue that is putting wildlife in peril, specifically Manatees, Turtles of all types and birds. While the yelling goes on, the very subject of the whole discussion dies. The beachfront homes and multi-million dollar condos and hotels survive only because the fedral government spends millions of dollars in pumping sand from the ocean floor to replenish the beaches from what nature has wrought. These are many of the same people that will insist they pay too much in taxes or complain about government waste or interference.
I've long tried to avoid getting caught up in many of these debates because quite frankly, I feel the correct answer is often somewhere in the middle - in that land where nobody wants to be because people on both sides will cut you down. However, as time goes by, I've come to realize there is no amount of discussion or persuasion that will overcome the ignorance, selfishness or greed that propells some people through life. Not wanting to argue uslessly, I sit quiet and listen - often in total amazement.
Today's announcement that the motor vessel Farley Marwat has been detained by South African authorities further justifies this view. They have been detained on trumped-up allegations of illegally operating their vessel. The South African government has done this knowing full well about the underhandedness and deceit of the Japanese whalers and yet have chosen to pursue this action. No doubt they feel they have more to gain by appeasing the Japanese government than a thousand whales or environmentalists. Whether it be ignorance selfishness or greed, it is wrong.
Yes, it is a polarized world. Maybe it must be that way because everybody can't be wrong. Some things are black and white. Often, the 'correct' choices are not the easy ones but those that take a bit of effort, thought and sacrifice on our part.
As the old guy backed his way down the ladder into the boat I knew he was upset with me.What he had asked me to do was truly insignificant on my part. So insignificant that I’m not sure if I just forgot about it or somewhere along the way decided it wasn’t worth the effort to me. Now he was mad and I strained to say nothing because I felt he was being unfair to me.
Even as he was ranting about my selfishness I could see the change in his face as he reached the bottom of the ladder. His skin had started to pale and the lines of anger that crossed his weathered face began to fade. The old man had long harbored a fear of small, closed-in spaces and yet had somehow learned to suppress them either for the love of his boat or perhaps because living on this boat was the best option for his dwindling budget.
On his hands and knees, he looked up at me again, still angry, and then reached to a far corner of a locker to do what I had failed to do. Within seconds his head appeared again but all of the anger was gone. What now painted his face was fear. As I looked into his glassy eyes I saw the beginning of a tear. He tried to return to his feet but fell backwards and began to shake violently. I had seen this happen to him before and knew the feeling of complete helplessness. In the past, these seizures had lasted for only a short moment but as I considered what I might be able to do to comfort him I couldn’t help but feel guilty that it was my action that brought him to this state. Even though he now had no control of his body, the look on his face seemed different this time, as though he was aware of what was happening and he knew this would be the last time he would suffer through this.
The old man’s dog who had been lying in her favorite spot on the settee was now looking at me. She was a friendly mutt with mottled hair that he had rescued years ago. She whined and looked at me with her glassy eyes pleading that I do something to help the man that she loved. Her little body trembled so much that she could barely walk over to where I stood feeling helpless. For an instant I felt more pitty for this small ball of fur than I did for the man on the floor. She was quite aware that something was wrong but could say or do absolutely nothing about it. We shared something and in her coal black eyes I could see a tear. Then I looked back at her friend and wondered how I could feel any more remorse for one than the other. Each had been blessed with their own gifts and shortcomings but both were breathing, living beings that loved each other.
My emotions were overcoming me when suddenly, I woke up. I found myself in my own bed with a tear in my eye. I lied there, thankful this had only been a dream – wondering who this old man was that I seemed to know so well only a moment earlier. Laying there, fighting back the tears, I recalled the face of helplessness that my old friend Rocky, a black lab mix, had worn when he suffered seizures. He couldn’t speak my language but we communicated and he thought, felt pain and fear just like me. In the darkness I could see the faces of animals being led to slaughter, they were full of fear. And I saw the pain of a puppy being abused. I thought about the desperation, fear and pain that whales endure at our hands - that surely they are crying. Still fighting the tears, I wondered how we can possibly accept that one life is worth less than the other or is merely a source of food or entertainment for humans simply because they can’t easily communicate their thoughts and share their feelings though spoken words.
I reached down to find Calypso laying with her head on my knee. As my hand touched her head she voiced her small, familiar rumble that would probably be mistaken for a growl had she been born a large cat or a gentle “what’s wrong” had she been born a human, and then began her purr of contentment.
(...please excuse any typos or errors - I had to enter this as soon as I could hoping to not lose any emotion but not having time to proofread or dress it up before heading to work)
Well, it wasn't unforseen but Capt. Watson and his ship, the Farley Mowat admitted that they would have to leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary today. They have exhausted their fuel and the French registered tanker that was to meet them just outside the sanctuary for refueling, has canceled. The Farley Mowat may not have enough fuel to make it to the nearest port. This is undoubtedly a great disappointment for those of us who felt that Sea Shepherd stood a better chance to end this year's whaling in the sanctuary.
Both Australia and New Zealand have announced that they have explored all of their alternatives and can find no way to legally challenge the Japanese registered whaling vessels and thier support vessel, a tanker/cargo ship registered in another country (Argentina, I believe). Greenpeace is still on station but must certainly be concerned about fuel also.
With this as a background, from a small group of dedicated people at care2.com, Whale Call, a non-profit organization recently formed with it's primary purpose being to explore an alternative method to aid in ending the slaughter of whales. While behind the scnes organizing is being done, it was suggested that members of the group explore other methods to raise awareness of Whale Call and generate interest in it's causes. And here am I - exploring the usefulness of a network such as this, Yahoo!s' new 360.
The first step was to create a Yahoo! and associated 360 account to represent only the united interests of the group. The Yahoo! account is 'whale_call'. Additionally, aYahoo! group has been created to determine the feasability of using these tools for the specified purpose. That group also goes by whale_call and can be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/whale_call/ .
The next step(s) will be to add content to my personal 360 site and that of the whale call site and then start networking and spreading the word...
Whaling has resumed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Please email the decision makers in Australia to encourage them to get off the sidelines and get involved. The Farley Mowat has only enough fuel to stay on station for a couple more weeks. The Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise are likely not far behind. When they leave, the whalers will be left to their own devices and will be monitored by nobody. Please request that the Australian Navy get involved as most of the whaling is taking place in Australian territorial waters.
You may use the sample letter below or create your own, but please do it as soon as possible and send the emails to the following people. Also, please CC firstname.lastname@example.org when you send your letters.
I am writing concerning the current and continued activities of whalers in Australian territorial waters. Counter to the opinions of the majority of nations committed to the protection of endangered species and to permitting only what is deemed to be sustainable whaling, a select few countries have seen fit to actively pursue broadening their whaling enterprises under the guise of scientific research.
Currently, 6 vessels recognized to hail from Japan are known to be sailing in Antarctic waters laying within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary which covers most waters south of 40 degrees and that are claimed by Australia. If the government of Australia has protested this trespass in any form, it has not become widespread public knowledge. In fact, because of the general lack of any evidence to the contrary, it is internationally accepted that the Australian government is doing absolutely nothing in it’s power to dissuade Japan from conducting it’s operations in Australian waters – not even restricting refueling and replenishment of Japanese flagged vessels.
That Japanese whaling is more than a research endeavor is obvious to even the most casual observer. Whale meat is legally sold in the Japanese market in upscale restaurants and fast-food chains. It is served to school-aged children with state sponsorship and recently using DNA techniques, remains of whales slaughtered by the whalers has been found in dog food sold internationally. Only ignorance could keep one from seeing that the Japanese government and whaling community are not being honest in their intentions and negotiations at internationally sanctioned events.
Because nations involved in the negotiations and passage of international treaties concerning whales and other marine life do not provide for enforcement of the results of hard won treaties, Non Governmental Organizations such as Green Peace and Sea Shepherd have attempted to fill the void and have become a non-paid policing force with limited influence. It is outrageous that the nations involved in these negotiations leave holes in treaties that a factory processing ship could sail through. It is even worse that absolutely no effort is made to enforce the treaties that are agreed to.
Recently, captains of the Japanese vessels commanded their vessels to disregard all navigational rules of the road and steered on collision courses for both the M/V Esperanza and M/V Farley Mowat, possibly endangering the lives of the crew of all involved vessels. It is evident that the Japanese whaling fleet has little regard for law and order when there is a lack of authority to answer to. Though rumors of a Japanese man of war being dispatched to cruise with the whalers has not yet been publicly substantiated, were a Japanese Naval vessel to appear in the general vicinity – within radar or if equipped, air surveillance range, it would be most disconcerting to all involved and a display that Australia has no intention of maintaining law and order within it’s territorial waters.
In light of all of these events and the international spotlight that is being focused upon Australia, I encourage you to not only more strongly pursue diplomatic means to address the glaring shortcomings, oversights and deception that is now rampant, I strongly request that all consideration be made in dispatching a capable Australian Naval vessel to ensure that all international regulations be followed and that the whaling vessels are not operated in any manner that endangers any life or property.
Although they are not the only nation that has stated their intention to violate international treaties concerning whales, several ships of the Japanese whaling fleet are currently trolling the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. There has been a lot of discussion about the differing tactics of how to deal with violators of these international treaties in the area of whale conservation.
If you're not familar with recent events, please take the time to read the news releases from the parties involved before voting in this poll. (websites listed below)
I intend to use this data to create letters and/or petitions to the parties involved and greatly appreciate your incite and consideration. Any and all constructive comments are greatly appreciated also.
If after taking this poll, you are interested in joining a group truly dedicated to stopping the slaughter of whales, please join us in Whale Sense.
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