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Navy to Avoid Puget Sound in Sonar Training, But…

Ocean, Sonar Add comments

After suspending the use of mid-frequency active sonar training activities in Puget Sound in the wake of an incident in 2003 in which sonar sounds appeared to agitate a group of orcas, the Navy confirmed this week that a new sonar training plan, with permits to be issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service, will keep future sonar training off the West Coast, and out of inland waterways. Chris Dunagan at the local Kitsap Sun gives the announcement his usual thorough coverage, including context from the past, as well as zeroing in on a key passage in the Navy’s public statement: “Any use of high- or mid-frequency active sonar for training purposes in Puget Sound would be beyond the scope of this permit,” the statement says. “However, outside of this permit, active sonar is used within Puget Sound for safety and navigation; testing; maintenance; and research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E).”  An incident in January of this year, during which mid-frequency active sonar was heard through a night, was part of RDT&E activities.  Dunagan explores the question of these multiple activities a bit more in an accompanying blog post.

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