Think TV

Post 9/11, the United States Navy ramped up its installations of warfare training range complexes around America's coastlines, due to the ostensible need for "better defense and security."  This is a map of the 2009 war-games layout; this is a new map of the extended war-games ranges on the Atlantic seaboard, for which the public-comments deadline is January 12, 2016.  Note the huge "study area" outlined in purple.  

US Navy Atlantic war games map

U.S. Navy extended Atlantic war-games map, click here to enlarge

The study area around Hawaii's war-games range is also enormous, stretching across what is easily 1/4 of the Pacific Ocean.  The study range for the Eastern seaboard is 3000 miles long and 3000 miles wide (measuring from inside the Gulf of Mexico).  There are also war-games complexes off Japan and Okinawa.  Why is this significant?  The Navy makes no secret of its activities in these areas, which include the use of missile, gunnery and bombing exercises, along with chemical warfare, electromagnetic warfare, radar and sonar.  There is no guarantee that the effects of such exercises will not reach our shores, to say nothing of the way they will impact ocean creatures -- all the way from algae to large and small marine mammals.  The Navy's term "take" (e.g., "taking" animals as a consequence of training exercises) is defined by NOAA as: "harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect."  (See Rosalind Peterson's excellent coverage of U.S. Navy offshore training here.)

We are told our oceans are dying, and sea creatures now litter the ocean floor.  Before jumping to conclusions about Fukushima radiation, it may be wise to learn more about commercial fishing, which has plundered ocean life far faster than reproduction rates, and to learn more about the Navy's sonar experiments, which began in the 1940s with the discovery of the Deep Sound Channel where water density, pressure and temperature combine into a horizontal "shelf" across the world -- a kind of "bandwidth" used by ocean animals to echolocate.  This zone now resounds with man-made noise from militaries, oil and gas drilling, boats and more.  The stranding of hemorrhaging fish and cetaceans (whales/dolphins) has been going on for years, thanks to our technologies and recreations.

Recommended reading: War of the Whales by Joshua Horwitz and Against the Tide by Richard Adams Carey.  Two books that can be bought for only a few dollars and are fantastic reads ... fill yourself in on what else has been happening to and in our oceans.  "Bycatch" is a fishing term referring to the capture of additional species in nets or on lines that are ultimately disposed of; the "cascade effect" refers to the fate of certain species when other species are removed or reduced; commercial fishing and human activities have set off a giant cascade effect in our oceans.  Also, destroying hundreds of millions of sharks every year for their fins (the fin-less animals are thrown back in to die on the ocean floor) has deprived the ocean of its major "street sweepers," as sharks perform a tremendous ecological service in keeping marine life balanced.