Info: Sound (ATOC) and humpback deaths

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 6 Dec 1995 20:15:45

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Date: Wed, 06 Dec 1995 20:16:11 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Sound (ATOC) and humpback deaths
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Subj:	U.S. agency agrees to undersea
 
Date:         Mon, 4 Dec 1995 11:41:05 -0800
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         r.mallon1@genie.com
Subject:      U.S. agency agrees to undersea
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U.S. agency agrees to undersea sound experiment
 
    SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 1 (Reuter) - A U.S. government agency has
given the go-ahead for a controversial undersea sound experiment
after concluding it is unlikely the deaths of three whales are
linked to the study, officials said on Friday.
     Scientists at the University of California at San Diego's
Scripps Institution of Oceanography propose transmitting sounds
from loudspeakers deep in the ocean in a study of global
warming.
     The noises would be picked up by receivers located around
the Pacific, enabling scientists to detect changes in ocean
temperatures since sound travels faster in warmer water.
     After environmentalists voiced concern about the possible
effect of the noise on whales and dolphins, scientists agreed to
carry out a preliminary study to test whether the signals would
have any adverse impact on marine mammals.
     The researchers installed a loudspeaker deep in the Pacific
Ocean off the central California coast and engineers carried out
some tests of the sound source last month.
     At about the same time, three humpback whales turned up dead
within about a 100-mile (160-km) radius of the site.
     The government's National Marine Fisheries Service asked the
researchers to delay the start of the experiment until the
agency had investigated the cause of the whales' deaths.
     Scripps said on Friday that National Marine Fisheries
Service officials had concluded it was unlikely that the deaths
of the whales were linked to the researchers' acoustic
engineering tests and had given the go-ahead for the project.
     Jim Lecky, a National Marine Fisheries Service official,
said the agency had not been able to determine why the whales
died. But he said the sound source was not capable of delivering
the kind of injury that would kill the whales so quickly.
     Project scientists have said the whales probably died of old
age.
     A spokeswoman for Scripps said the experiment could start as
early as Saturday, weather permitting.