In a move that will make life better, longer and quieter for whales, dolphins, oarfish and other underwater creatures, the U.S. Navy has finally agreed to restrict its usage of sonar, particularly around naval bases in California and Hawaii.
The settlement is the result of actions brought against the Navy by the environmental groups Earthjustice, Greenpeace and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who alleged that sonar and underwater explosions affect migration patterns, feeding locations, breeding and the ability of marine animals to hear and communicate. Sonar especially has been blamed for driving whales and dolphins ashore to their deaths.
The agreement was announced by Earthjustice lawyer David Henkin, who detailed the terms of the deal.
Despite putting up a fight, the Navy admits that the new limitations will not affect testing and training exercises. It has until 2018, when the existing agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service expires, to put the new restrictions in place.
Good news for whales, dolphins and other marine creatures is good news for the humans they share the planet with. If the Navy needs something to test explosives on, maybe it can use that big plastic blob in the middle of the Pacific.