Military Exercises Threaten Sea Life
During the next five years, the U.S. Navy’s war games, using live munitions in our coastal waters, will potentially kill 186 whales and dolphins off the East Coast and 155 more off Hawaii and Southern California, according to computer models. Rear Admiral Kevin Slates rationalizes the casualties by stating, “Without this realistic testing and training, our sailors can’t develop or maintain the critical skills they need or ensure the new technologies can be operated effectively.”
On the upside, marine scientists are currently using mobile devices to reduce the number of whales struck and killed off California’s coast by large commercial ships. An app called Whale Spotter employs crowd-sourcing to gather data, allowing sailors, fishermen and marine scientists that spot whales to plot their locations on an interactive map. Such a network can track marine mammals in real time as they migrate. These maps are useful to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Coast Guard officials responsible for recommending changes in vessel routes.