Target: U.S. President Barack Obama
Goal: Keep environmentally destructive naval exercises out of marine national monument
At 782,000 square miles the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is the largest marine reserve in the world. In June, 2014 President Obama signed an executive order expanding the reserve, which will be off-limits to commercial fishing and oil and gas exploration. Unfortunately, commercial exploitation is not the ocean’s only threat. The U.S. Navy can still legally conduct training exercises in the marine sanctuary, posing a sizable threat to marine life.
Fresh organ samples taken from dead beaked whales, stranded after a series of naval exercises on the coast of Crete, show the horrifying effects of antisubmarine exercises on the animals. Hemorrhaging internal organs, decompression-like sickness found in the tissue and bleeding from the ears were among the findings, according to Slate Magazine. These are suggestive of rapid ascent from great depths, consistent with the effects of sonar on whales. Studies have also found significant proof of dolphins and whales fleeing habitats, the decimation of beaked whale populations in sonar-frequented areas and dangerous changes in foraging by blue whales where sonar is used.
Multiple settlements and court orders brought against the Navy by conservationists have forced the military to invest millions of dollars into researching the effects of its underwater activities on marine life. Unfortunately, naval training exercises commonly involve explosives and sonar which cannot be made completely safe.
Granting the Navy an exception to bans on destructive exploitation of marine sanctuaries is not unheard of. During President George W. Bush’s terms, two marine national monuments were established: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Both were protected from destructive activities—except those carried out by the Navy.
Urge President Obama to keep the Navy’s environmentally destructive activities out of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and fully protect this invaluable sanctuary.
Dear President Obama,
The designation of the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument is a huge gain for worldwide marine conservation, but only if the area is truly protected. In order to do this the Navy must not be exempt from the ban on environmentally destructive activities within the sanctuary.
Antisubmarine sonar and explosives used by the Navy in training exercises injure, strand and kill marine wildlife. I urge you to extend the ban on environmentally destructive activities in the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument to include Naval exploitation in order to truly protect the preserve.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Flickr