Thursday, 8 December 2011

Beaked whales stranded along the western shore

Few days ago, I read from some other corfiot blogs that some beaked whales stranded at Ermones, Pelekas and St. George beaches. People suspect that they stranded because of the sonars used by the italian navy. Here is an except from an article of an enviromentalist site:

"Last week, beaked whales began stranding along the Greek island of Corfu, on the eastern edge of the Ionian Sea.  The whales stranded alive, and rescuers struggled to lead them back to deeper water.  Around the same time, a mother and calf stranded on the coast of Calabria, about 130 miles away on the other side of the water.  The mother perished.
At the western coast beach of Ermones, witnesses at two separate stranding sites reported hearing a strange whistling sound every ten or fifteen seconds – a truly remarkable thing since they were above the waterline and the signal probably came from below.

From November 27 through Dec. 2, the Italian Navy has been conducting a major exercise known as “Mare Aperto” (“Open Seas”) in the central-southern Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and southern Adriatic.  At least one of the participating ships in this year’s exercise, an Italian Maestrale-class frigate called the Scirocco, is equipped with active sonar made by Raytheon and identical to systems used by the U.S. Navy.
Of course, the Italian exercise covered a wide area, and we don’t yet know how closely it may be correlated in space and time with the mass strandings.  All possible causes, including other anthropogenic noise sources, should be investigated.  But the facts look ominous. Sonar has killed Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Ionian Sea before, and researchers suspect it has played a role in several other strandings involving the same population.  One biologist wrote that, thanks to these events, the population “may be steadily headed towards its extinction."

  It is known that beaked whales are very sensitive to some patricular sound ranges. Should the italian navy stop using such powerful sonars that can lead many species to a massive extinction?

1 comment:

© Karelian Blonde said...

I was following the story about the stranded whale in Arillas but I never thought it was on this scale all over.

Yes, I think the Italians should stop what ever it is that they are messing with.