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Tue 31 Jan 2012 01:27 PM

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US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar

Lawsuit alleges use of sonar blasts in naval training behind unusual death of marine animals

US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
A person inside an underwater viewing pod in the hull of a catamaran watches bottlenose dolphins off the southern California coast (All images courtesy of Getty Images)
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
A coalition of conservation groups and American Indian Tribes is calling for greater protection of dolphins, whales, and other migrating marine animals from the use of sonar in training by the US Navy on the West Coast
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
The groups include Earthjustice, several tribes, and the Natural Resources Defense Council
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
Environmental groups argue that mid-frequency sonar alters the behaviour of sound-sensitive marine life and, in some cases, causes fatal results
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
The US Navy uses federal waters for submarine warfare training, surface-to-air missile practice, and other forms of testing
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
Environmental groups began challenging the military's practices in the Southern California region about 15 years ago
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
In 2010, National Marine Fisheries Service gave the Navy a permit for five years of expanded naval activity that the groups said will harm or “take” marine mammals and other sealife
US Navy sued to protect whales, dolphins from sonar
The permit allows the Navy to conduct increased training exercises that can harm marine mammals