Dead whales in Canary Is. – 07/30/2004

  • October 1, 2013 at 3:21 am #554
    Mike
    Keymaster

    http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/26250/story.htm

    SPAIN: July 27, 2004

    FUERTEVENTURA COAST, Spain – Two dead whales have landed in Spain’s
    Canary Islands, raising fears they may have been hurt by NATO
    military exercises off Morocco and that more could have died,
    officials said.

    The two whales arrived in the area within 24 hours and were dead for
    several days before their bodies drifted ashore, said Tony Gallardo,
    environmental expert with the local government of the island of
    Fuerteventura, one of the Canaries, which lies only about 60 miles
    off the southern Moroccan coast.

    “There is a strong suspicion that their deaths were related to the
    NATO exercises that finished a few days ago,” Gallardo told Reuters.

    Naval and air force units from 10 countries involving 20,000 troops
    and more than 20 warships took part in U.S.-led NATO military
    exercises off Morocco from July 11 to 16.

    NATO officials had no comment.

    The Canary Islands regional government dispatched a helicopter to
    search remote stretches of coastline after fishermen reported seeing
    something that looked like a third dead whale floating a few miles
    from the shore.

    Fourteen whales beached in the Canaries in 2002 during multinational
    military exercises there. It was one of several mass strandings of
    whales that scientists have linked to the use of naval sonar systems.

    A year later, researchers published a study in the science journal
    Nature that found sonar may cause a type of decompression sickness in
    whales and dolphins.

    Scientists suspect sonar signals disorientate the mammals, forcing
    them to come up to the surface too quickly, which could cause the
    formation of damaging nitrogen bubbles in their tissue.

    Military sonar systems blast areas of ocean with sound waves to
    detect submarines.

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