Greece: A large number of dolphins died in the Aegean Sea since the end of February. Many of them washed up on the northern coast of Samos. They did not display any telltale signs of being deliberately killed or of suffering from any serious illness. However, Turkey’s navy conducted a major exercise in the region that could be a factor.
Sky News reports the Navy conducted the exercise between February 27 and March 8. It involved more than 100 vessels using sonar and live ammunition. Warships use sonar to locate submarines but the noise generated is like a death knell for dolphins.
The noise is deafening to them and in trying to escape, they surface too fast or beach themselves. Moreover, the explosion of live ammunition can lead to the death of millions of organisms.
Scientists say a major exercise by Turkey’s navy could be to blame for the increase in dolphin deaths https://t.co/Je4mDn25XA
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 8, 2019
The full implications could be more severe
Anastassia Miliou is the head of research at the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation. She says that so far, a few dead dolphins have washed up and there could be many more because Turkey’s naval exercise had more than 100 ships and the Aegean coastline is a long one.
She clarified that at this time of the year, there are a few deaths reported. Hence, the present number of multiple deaths is a matter of worry.
More dolphins die in Aegean Sea; group suspects navy… – Daily Mail https://t.co/poRpaPEC3q
— Greece news feed (@HellasNewsFeed) April 8, 2019
Sky News adds there was a similar situation with whale deaths and NATO adopted a code of conduct for sonar use. One of these is that the users must ensure that its use will not harm marine mammals. Fish and plankton suffer from sonar because they give rise to intense noise pollution, which is harmful to marine life.
Turkey is a member of NATO and it should have followed the guidelines. Greece and the United States have a presence in the area and follow them. The intention is to safeguard the Environment because the Aegean is already struggling to come to terms with issues like pollution, overfishing, and heavy marine traffic.
Naval exercises should safeguard marine lives
According to AP news, the sudden spike in dolphin deaths in the Aegean Sea over the past few weeks is a matter that needs investigation. This unnatural phenomenon comes in the wake of a major naval exercise by Turkey in the region.
It was codenamed “Blue Homeland” and made extensive use of sonar and practiced with live ammunition. Sonar is to locate enemy submarines and is deafening to dolphins. In order to escape from the underwater din, they harm themselves.
Military exercises have become the norm today like between the US and South Korea. The purpose is to keep the men, and equipment battle-ready at all times. However, when planning such activities, the authorities must respect the guidelines laid down for the protection of the environment.
In this case, could it be a coincidence that more than 15 dolphins died during the “Blue Homeland” exercises?