Return-Path: <WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org> Received: from flo.org by VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU (MX V3.1C) with SMTP; Wed, 24 Aug 1994 12:42:40 EDT Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 11:15:31 -0400 (EDT) From: WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org To: email@example.com Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Case Study-ATOC (Marine Noise Pollution) From: SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 23-AUG-1994 13:05:26.65 To: WHE_WILLIAM CC: Subj: ATOC update Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 11:52:45 AST Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> Sender: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> Comments: Warning -- original Sender: tag was rbaird@SOL.UVIC.CA From: Hal Whitehead/Lindy Weilgart <HWHITEHEAD@Kilcom1.UCIS.Dal.Ca> Organization: Dalhousie University Subject: ATOC update X-To: Marmam@uvvm.bitnet To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET> As there have been some recent requests for information about ATOC, I feel that perhaps an update would be useful. The latest meeting between ATOC scientists, independent concerned marine mammal scientists, and environmental groups was held July 19 in San Francisco. While I was unable to attend myself, I was told that ATOC still needs to obtain several permits. The California Coastal Commission, NOAA's Sanctuaries and Reserves Division in Washington, as well as of course NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service are all concerned about ATOC's potentially harmful effects on marine life and appear to be waiting for ATOC's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)-- which ATOC neglected to do at the outset--before deciding further on whether to grant (or support the granting of) permits. An EIS generally takes about 1 year to prepare. Environmental groups (NRDC, EDF, SCLDF, Center for Marine Conservation, mainly) have made it clear that the EIS needs to be complete and address their major concerns (e.g. benign alternatives to ATOC) or else the EIS can be challenged in the courts ad nauseum. Given the temporal (years- decades) and spatial (ocean basins) scale of the project, the following concerns have been raised: 1) Inability to detect long-term effects on any cetacean species; 2) Whether the location of the speakers in some of the most productive areas of the world is an appropriate or safe site for these studies; 3) Lack of any specific designation on what constitutes "a harmful effect" which, according to ATOC's assurances would halt the project; 4) ATOC broadcasts scheduled during the biological (marine mammal) phase of ATOC, which are not for the explicit benefit of the marine mammal study but rather for engineering purposes; 5) No consideration of the effects of ATOC on prey species; 6) The wide-spread perception that some marine mammal scientists are not truly independent and unbiassed, having made public statements (not based on hard evidence) that they believe the source will be harmless to marine mammals. One principal marine mammal scientist even co-authored a newspaper article entitled "Acoustic Sea Tests Won't Harm Mammals"; 7) The persistent disturbing habit of ATOC to disseminate unsubstantiated, questionable statements as being "fact", e.g. ATOC material available over e-mail and hard- copies distributed by their PR firm states "No physiological damage will occur to marine life as a result of ATOC sounds...". In fact, ATOC's own scientific advisory board notes in their 21 June report that "ATOC documents assume that hearing damage...will not occur if received levels of ATOC sounds are below 150-160 dB re 1 microPa. The Advisory Board notes that this assumption may or may not be true, but there are no supporting data from marine mammals." ATOC material has stated that "ships pass by animals hundreds of times a day without their sounds harming them. Scientific data and years of observations support this finding." In fact, the Advisory Board of ATOC states in their 21 June report that "Early assessments of 1994 baseline observations apparently indicate...that humpback whales reacted overtly to most close approaches by vessels and aircraft." These are just a few of many examples. For those people who still feel the controversy over ATOC is merely a result of an uninformed public and confused marine mammal scientists speaking out of their area of expertise, let me assure you that meetings such as the one on July 19 and the alterations that ATOC has been forced to make in its project would not be occurring if there were no valid legal, scientific, and ethical problems with this project. Lindy Weilgart Dept. of Biology Dalhousie Univ.