OR NAVAL SONAR and
WHALES ARE DYING...
WHILE WE ARE DRIVING...
LIGHT-YEARS TO NOWHERE.
NOTE FROM JEFF: Here is a perfect example of how homo sapiens is back-pedaling at close to the speed of light in terms of our ability actually to understand each other and work together in harmony on things that really matter as opposed to attacking fellow activists with bilious and inane criticism based on a narrow-minded 'certainty' and pseudo-messianic claims of having finally found the 'truth' and now the...get this...the 'final solution.' Somehow this phrase scares me a little bit when used with reference to the whales and dolphins.
Read below how Capt. David Williams propounds the idea that sea-quakes are the cause of almost ALL strandings of whales and dolphins...EVEN when naval/military and/or seismic testing activity occurred in the same area! He hasn't told me what institution...if any...granted him the title of 'captain.'
He states that he is IN FAVOUR of continueing naval activity and seismic testing, and finally that the ideas of StrandedNoMore...to me, the single best source of information on-line about the reality of cetacean strandings...would 'poison' his new e-group...which he only started last week after I contacted him asking if he had any footage we could use for our new film project. Read his comments directly below, then an email from StrandedNoMore to me, then her most recent blog posting. YOU be the judge on the relative integrity of these person's approaches to cetacean activism and making differences that matter.
To me, the bottom-line with this is that even IF 'sea-quakes' were the cause of strandings, then what? Not much we can do about it, right? Capt. David and his all-encompassing 'sea-quake' theory sounds a bit like it's designed to take the heat off the Navy and 'big oil' with yet another distraction from the reality of their war on the cetaceans. First, it was 'mystery illnesses' that caused the Peruvian dolphin strandings, now 'sea-quakes' caused the ones off Scotland...yet in BOTH instances solid evidence exists of massive seismic testing in the exact same areas.
We already know, thanks to people like Rosalind Peterson, how the U.S. Navy controls both the NOAA and NMFS, the two organizations who 'over-see' the environmental aspects of naval activities and its effects on cetaceans. We know how the Navy funds, directly and indirectly, not only the vast majority of 'marine biology' research...Woods Hole and Scripps, for example, are almost 100% naval contractors...but also many of the biggest 'environmental' organizations. I personally suspect that the NRDC receives massive navy funding coming, of course, through unidentified 'third party' contributors. We already know, thanks to StrandedNoMore, of the massive criminal fraudulence that Navy scientists foist to deceive a gullible and scientifically ignorant public, proliferating an unending stream of bogus 'research' and 'perception management' propaganda.
Finally, in the age of 'weather warfare' and weaponized man-made earthquakes generated technetronically using HAARP and related seismic technologies, the possibility exists that many 'sea-quakes' could be of artificial origin.
Placing the blame on sea-quakes, 'mystery illnesses' and evil Japanese whalers and fishermen is little more than a total denial of the REALITY of the war on cetaceans being carried out by the military-industrial complex. This attitude is easily and conveniently adopted by 'new age' and 'social media' mentalities who have been psychologically indoctrinated by mass-media to be uncritical consumers of whatever is spoon-fed to them. These attitudes do not require the questioning of indiscriminate hydro-carbon fuel consumption or the trans-national fascist entities seeking to control it all.
To the extent that we as a whole continue to 'live' as hydro-carbon junkies through our addiction to the automobile, we directly support the greatest threats to cetaceans on Mothership Earth, the 'war on terror' being conducted not only against any nation who has not succumbed to Anglo-American imperialism but against the entire fabric of life as we currently know her.
Reality is not easy; rather than analyze unquestioned assumptions that allow us to continue sleep-walking, we prefer to blame 'someone else' rather than making real changes in our own lives.
CAPT. DAVID WILLIAMS LATEST BLOG POSTING:
Is the Seaquake Solution Flawed as Experts Claim?Some "scientists" are reporting that a big seaquake on August 30 near Jan Mayen Island caused the pilot whales to beach in Scotland. They were mistaken. The quake that caused the beachings occurred on August 11 along the Northern Mid Atlantic Ridge.
A different expert (Strandednomore) claims the idea that seaquakes cause whale beachings is flawed and just can't possibly explain most mass strandings. Strandednomore is also mistaken.
This blog will try to limit the damage these misinform jerks have done to the SEAQUAKE SOLUTION. As you will see below, the insults to my work came about simply because Strandednomore chose to rattle off about something she knows nothing about.
COMMENT BY CAPT. DAVID IN NEW E-GROUP HE STARTED AFTER I CONTACTED HIM:
"Frankly, we look like environmental fanatics screaming and yelling that sonar and seismic surveys are to blame every time a whale beaches itself. It's not true. Fighting a FALSE cause just turns a great number of folks against our movement. In fact, the Deafwhale Society does not advocate that oil industry surveys and Navy sonar be stop. Our primary goal is to reveal the TRUTH that has been covered-up for decades. Once the TRUTH is in the public mind, the public will determine what is to be done about it. We must lead... not push...I'll be so glad when you guys get up-to-date on my work so that you can help me correct the ignorance of some people. Stranded is in the clouds somewhere. She's a hard worker but she does far harm to our cause than she does good. She has no idea the basis of the SEAQUAKE SOLUTION yet she rants endlessly.
I don't want this new group to be poisoned by her irresponsible remarks. I want everyone to believe beyond even a shadow of doubt that we are working on the FINAL SOLUTION TO WHY WHALES BEACH!"
PERSONAL COMMUNICATION FROM STRANDEDNOMORE:
"This dude is not a scientist, nor has he any scientific background. He has been obsessing with this sea-quake idea for decades, and while he cites some stuff and might be partially right in some areas, overall he likes to stretch things a bit to fit them into his theory. Like for example saying that 'All things considered, the average distance between injury and stranding is about 2500 miles.' Heck, because our Earth is so seismically active there will nearly always be some quake 2500 miles from the stranding site. And how exactly he arrived at this arbitrary number? Why not 1500? Or 4500?
By the way, the relationships between quakes and strandings did not receive much attention from the scientific community for some weird reason, and we do not say that quakes are not a factor, it could be, but not like he is saying. For example, there were no mass strandings during or after huge quake in Japan, in 2011. But there was atypical stranding 4 days before, a pod of melon headed whales stranded. This does not fit his theory.I've been arguing with him pointing these inconsistencies, but he just gets pissed like a little baby. The problem however is that the average member of the public might not know all these things and nuances and might believe everything he says. Thats why we say on our blog, do not believe anything we write, go check for yourself and then decide."
A curious little article was published yesterday titled “Whales ‘hit by seaquake” (link). In it the authors state that “…a seaquake, occurred off the Norwegian course on August 30, and scientists believe it may have caused the group of 26 whales to veer off course”
The possible link between strandings and earthquakes is both fascinating and complex. Some believe that quakes in fact explain everything about strandings (link). We take a middle path because there are too many factors that favor the earthquake hypothesis of strandings and just as many factors that contradict it. Let’s examine some factors in detail.
Hypothesis #1: Earthquakes are to blame for strandings
1. Historical strandings and records seem to support earthquake hypothesis because quakes (and strandings) have been happening for eons, way before sonar or airguns.
2. One study documented a fin whale fleeing the earthquake (but see discussion below) (link)
3. Many stranding hotspots, such as New Zealand for example occur in seismically active regions.
4. Earthquakes release a lot of energy, in fact the quake of magnitude a little above M5, is capable of producing low frequency sounds that are very intense 240-239 dB re: 1 µPa at 1 m (Gallo-Reynoso et al., 2011). It is of course a very low frequency but it is definitely within large whales’ hearing range of 16 and 44 Hz (human hearing range 20 Hz-20 kHz for reference). The debate is actually is far from being settled about toothed whales and dolphins thresholds for low frequencies (it is a whole new topic for another post).
Hypothesis #2. Earthquakes are not to blame for strandings
1. Our planet is extremely seismically active and has always been so. In fact just over past 30 days more than 1000 quakes happened worldwide. Almost at any given moment there is a quake happening somewhere. To help you visualize this here is a video for quakes occurring on Earth in just 2 months
2. There is no way whales and dolphins did not evolve some sort of adaptation to deal with quakes. The response of a fin whale in the above study might demonstrate this adaptation. When the quake is detected, marine mammals could be moving away from it. Look at the maps from this study. The observed fin whale was 245 km in relation to the epicenter, he was also close to shore, but he did not do a mad dash towards the shore and strand. Instead he breached (actually very interesting behavior that could be a communication to other whales that something is up) and started moving fast away from the quake but PARALLEL to the shore.
3. Mass and single stranded cetaceans do not float passively with currents after experiencing some sort of “damage” possibly induced by a quake. Instead they swim actively towards the shore often at their normal or even accelerated speed. Here are two examples of documented strandings:
a) In July 2010 a rare Sowerby’s beaked whale stranded in Netherlands (link), it was reloated by members of the public but it restranded and died on July 21, in Kent, UK (link). We helped to unravel this mystery because we were curious if it was the same whale and later the lifeguard that helped to refloat the whale confirmed the marks that were clearly seen on a whale stranded in Kent. So in 3 days this whale covered 185 miles and he did not float with currents, but actively swam towards his final destination.
b) We have been posting this video all the time, this is famous rescue from Brazil. And you can see once again that a pod of dolphins swims actively towards the shore and does not just “float with currents”.
Incredible Dolphin Rescue - 30 Dolphins Stranded and Saved
4. In New Zealand which is seismically active area there is a significant population of dusky dolphins and they are almost never mass strand. In fact we were only able to find one documented mass stranding in Australia in 90s.
5. Chile is another seismically active region, and while there have been live strandings there, they were not nearly as abundant in terms of animals involved and number of stranding events compared to other areas, such as UK for example. And Chile has very abundant marine life offshore, its not like they do not have whales and dolphins there.
6. Even California with all its seismic activity has less live strandings compared to the US East Coast.
Hypothesis #3. The Middle Ground
1. We think that quakes should not be completely disregarded nor should they be blamed for all strandings.
2. Whales and dolphins most likely can detect quakes or perhaps even their precursors and move away from the harm.
3. Whales and dolphins can still be affected when the quake erupts just below them, or in proximity or during a deep dive. So there are several important factors to consider:
a) quake magnitude
b) distance in regard to a quake
c) activities during the quake
We think that due to unfortunate circumstances sometimes whales’ and dolphins’ adaptations are not enough and if they are caught off guard, in close proximity to a powerful quake and during a deep dive they can be vulnerable.
4. We have been talking a lot about stranding as behavioral response. This could be another way how a quake AND sonar/airguns can induce mass or single live stranding. We think if a pod or a whale are caught between the shore and the source, and cannot move towards the source due to some circumstances/factors we do not fully understand, coming ashore is the only thing the pod or a whale can do. There are many unknowns in this theory however.
Questions to be answered
1. How far is too far? How close to the source a marine mammal should be to be damaged physically or to evoke behavioral fleeing response? The study of a fin whale and a quake shows that M5 quake at 245 km evokes fleeing response but not stranding. Sound travels fast, and what we need to know at what levels sound ceases to become nuisance and turns into danger or even becomes lethal.
2. Sadly cetaceans now live in the environment where not only quakes happen almost all the time, but also where seismic surveys happen all the time along with Navy sonar, Navy “hazardous operations”, missiles tests, explosives, low flying aircraft tests, you name it. With so many possible culpits, the blame can be shifted and the truth can be obscured. Earthquakes are easy to blame as there is always a quake going on somewhere. Given how things stand now, in the future there will be also always some seismic survey or Navy test nearby. How can we determine the cause of stranding? Only by studying it carefully, taking into consideration all culpits, by getting full necropsy, by doing statistical analysis. This is the only way.
Do we think 4 mass strandings that happened in past 2 weeks were due to quakes?
No. And here is why. There were no quakes close by Cape Verde prior and during stranding. The quake up North while powerful was still 1744 km from a stranding site. Let’s say whales were half way between a quake and a stranding site in Scotland, it would take them 3.6 days to cover this distance at their normal speed of 10 km/h. As for Florida and Cape Cod, no quakes in Cape Cod and very minor quakes in Puerto Rico region and one small quake 187 km E of Georgia (see interactive website here, you can check all quakes small and big ones last 30 days link)
The bottom line:
While quakes can affect marine mammals in one way or the other they cannot be blamed for all live strandings. Quakes can be important as cetaceans might evolve the reflex or reaction to flee the quake and they might as well try to flee many other sources such as sonar or airguns. Or they may be even more vulnerable to anthropogenic noise as they do not know how to deal with it and did not evolve successful coping strategy.
As you see live strandings are very complicated events and we need to take as many factors into consideration as possible, but we also have evaluate all factors based on plausibility and data available.