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UK War Games Near Dolphin Conservation Area Spur Concern

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UK environmental groups have raised concerns about the move of a Europe’s biannual Naval exercise to waters outside Moray Firth, which is home to Scotland’s only bottlenose dolphin population, and an area in which an increasing number of marine species has been seen in recent years. Operation Joint Warrier will involve 20 ships, 4 subs, and 40 aircraft, and lasts from October 13-22.  Sarah Dolman, The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s noise campaign manager, said that a full environmental assessment should have taken place before any such operations near a Special Conservation Area, continuing that ‘the Ministry of Defence should ensure compliance with legislation before it moves its exercise into this important, and protected habitat.”  A spokesman for the MOD says that active sonar will not be used within the Firth, and is limited areas more than 30 miles from the Conservation Area, assuring that noise will be within tolerable levels within the Firth’s important habitats.  After a stranding event last summer which was never conclusively tied to sonar, but appeared related to similarly distant military exercises, the area will be closely watched by all this month, I’m sure. For more detail, see articles in The Telegraph and BBC.

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