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Sonar Vs. Whale Migration Essay

948 words - 4 pages

Sonar vs. Whale Migration
Imagine being in Baja California lying on the beach and out along the horizon you watch the first gray whale break surface and fling himself into the air. I personally have seen this and it is a life changing experience. A whale of that size can truly take your breath away. Whales migrate over 6000 miles in the winter each year just to mate in the warmer waters of the tropics. Although it is amazing to watch them arrive the trip for them is not easy. Whales rely on the hearing immensely and they use sounds to find food, friends, their mate and even find their way around throughout their life. The fact of the matter is that manmade sounds are destroying these migrating whales hearing thus throwing them off course. The use of sonar (Sound Navigation And Ranging) in military boats, submarines and other boats shouldn’t be allowed during migration times in order to save whales in any ocean and keep them on course as they migrate.
Sonar is being used in boats and submarines in order for them to navigate through any ocean. The use of sonar benefits submarines because the sound waves produced from the sonar sweep across the ocean floor revealing obstructive objects in the path and sends this information back to the submarine. Some systems operate at more than 235 decibels, producing sound waves that can travel across tens or even hundreds of miles of ocean (Lethal Sounds). This shows us how powerful these sound waves can be. The sonar sound is only beneficial to humans and marine mammals such as whales are taking the damage. The sounds produced can blow out their hearing and throw them off course while migrating just because they are trying to get away from this deathly noise.
The sound waves are topping off around 235 decibels and not to forget that 300 miles away the noise is still at about 140 decibels underwater. To put this into perspective the loudest rock concert recorded topped off at around 135 decibels. This is truly an eye opener for me, and what sonar does to the whales is devastating. Whales are very sensitive to noise they use sounds to navigate, communicate and monitor their surroundings. Without there ability to hear whales get distorted, confused and mixed up and this is due to manmade noises in the ocean. When sonar or other sounds like propeller noise or offshore drilling is presented to whales they try to avoid these noises because they find them frightening or threating. The noises can throw whales off their course and even make them run up on the beach trying to get away from the sounds.
The use of sonar is a social issue because many lawsuits get filed not just against the Navy for practicing the use of Sonar but also to other groups such as the...

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