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The Navy conducted live fire trainings the Gulf of Alaska in June, 2015.
Currently, the Navy is applying for authorization to train in the Gulf of Alaska for the next five years (2016 - 2020).
We have significant concerns about the negative or unknown impacts these trainings could have on the ecosystem and communities.
The Eyak Preservation Council believes that with a few changes, negative impacts of the trainings could be vastly reduced.
Please join us by asking that the Navy do the following:
- similar protections enacted for the Hawaiian and Southern California ranges be extended for all marine mammal species of the Gulf of Alaska;
- that all trainings taking place within the GOA TMAA (Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area) and the airspace above the GOA TMAA be moved to the TMAA’s offshore stratum and outside of all the biologically vital seamounts;
- that the timing of the exercises be moved to a different time of year – not spring or summer when whales are most active in the GOA;
- that the timing of the exercises be moved to a different time of year because the spring and summer months are a critical time for many commercial fishermen;
- that independent observers accompany all Navy vessels for the duration of any and all training exercise.
Navy Training Fact Sheet
The following are excerpts from the Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement regarding impacts to fish.
Please review the following and send letter using the links (left).
Read in full at www.goaeis.com.
EIS Section 3.6 Fish:
- Currently the GOA supports habitats of “endangered” and “threatened” populations of high seas salmon (Chinook, coho, chum, and sockeye salmon, and steelhead)
- Five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, coho, chum, pink, and sockeye salmon) have EFH designated within the TMAA
- The effects [of the trainings] on fish could include direct physical injury, such as potential for death, injury, or failure to (or an increase in the time needed to) reach the next developmental stage.
- Stress to fish populations in warfare areas includes environmental stressors, acoustic effects of underwater sounds to fish, effects of underwater impulsive sounds, explosive ordnance, nonexplosive ordnance, and expended materials.
- Potential effects of explosive charge detonations on fish and EFH include disruption of habitat; exposure to chemical by-products; disturbance, injury, or death from the shock (pressure) wave; acoustic impacts; and indirect effects including those on prey species and other components of the food web.
In reference to Sonar:
- There have been very few studies on the effects that human-generated sound may have on fish
- The majority of studies often lack appropriate controls, statistical rigor, and/or expert analysis of the results
- More well-controlled studies are needed on the hearing thresholds for fish species and on temporary and permanent hearing loss associated with exposure to sounds.
- The effects of sound may not only be species specific, but also depend on the mass of the fish (especially where any injuries are being considered) and life history phase (eggs and larvae may be more or less vulnerable to exposure than adult fish).
- No studies have established effects of cumulative exposure of fish to any type of sound or have determined whether subtle and long-term effects on behavior or physiology could have an impact upon survival of fish populations.
- Petroleum hydrocarbons released during an accident are harmful to fish. Jet fuel is toxic to fish.
- Unburned fuel may be spread over a large area
- Fuel spills and material released from weapons and targets could occur at different locations and at different times.
- Potential impacts from Navy explosives training include degradation of substrate and introduction of toxic chemicals into the water column
EIS Section 3.14 Public Safety:
- Undetonated ordnance on the ocean floor may pose a risk to fishermen, particularly bottom trawlers. If a trawl contacted an undetonated ordnance item, the item could detonate.
- Chaff (aluminum-coated polymer fibers inside of a launching mechanism) will be used during the trainings. Upon deployment, the chaff and small pieces of plastic are expended. The purpose of chaff is to counter avoid aircraft detection by radar by masking the aircraft and to provide false radar returns to defeat radar-guided anti-aircraft defensive systems. Chaff will form a large cloud of fiber that disperses slowly, which could affect public safety.
- Some solid training items expended at sea could migrate to the shoreline where the public could encounter them. Included among these items are targets and sonobuoys.