I'm surprised (but glad), that the navy is finally admitting the potential damage sonar can cause to the marine life. We had a similar incident along the northwest coast some years back when a pod of pilot whales stranded themselves on a beach, and the cause was thought to have been a destroyer banging away with its active sonar in the bay.
The Oregon coast is along the humback whale migration route, and I hope to go see them this year. Absolutely stunning animals.
As a former UCSM I have always regarded the allegations of active sonar freaking out the marine life as so much Greenpeace bullshit. If anything I reckon active TXs attract the sealife. Pilot whales have often been found stranded on the west coast of Tasmania, an awfully long way from any fleet excersise areas, yet Greenpeace still try to blame the Navy.
Once I was fishing in a mates boat off Botany Bay. All was quiet and a cold beer was going down well when I heard the unmistakeable 'tambourine rattle' of an SQS23 sonar. Over on the horizon was a DDG and the transmissions were reverberating through the aluminium hull of the boat. We caught quite a few fish that day, seems the sonar didn't bother them at all. I wish Greenpeace could have seen it.
Whales and the like have stranded themselves since time immemorial, and so far Greenpeace has failed to come up as gfar as I have seen with a good explanation how modern sonar does cause more standings than normal. This of course does not mean they are wrong, but they do have a reputation for using bad science and campaigning on objectives which turn out to be scientifically wrong.
At present I for one have great difficulty in believing them on any subject, unless others independantly support their assertions with good scientific explanations.