A major operation to try and lead whales away from an area where NATO warships are gathering for a large military exercise is set to get underway, Although how successful it will be remains to be seen as attempts to ‘herd’ whales in the past especially from inshore shallows have not been successful and can simply distress them:
The BBC reports:
“Experts have been monitoring the northern bottlenose whales in Gare Loch in Argyll for the last month.
“They want to move them from the sea loch because sonar used by warships during the Joint Warrior military exercise could distress the animals.
“There are also concerns that one of the whales is looking “skinny”. Europe’s largest military exercise begins on Saturday and its headquarters will be at Faslane, the naval base next to Gare Loch.”
Military activity has led to significant death and injury to the whale population off Western Scotland in the past. hales stranding also at times of military exercises have also occurred to the West of Ireland. In 2011 19 pilot whales died after activity by the military to clear exercise munitions debris off Scotland. Initially the MOD denied it was to blame but a report in 2015 confirmed the military were the culprits:
As an aside in the latest reports some of the Bottlenose Whales in the Gareloch are reported to be undernourished victims perhaps of the industrial trawling which has been ongoing in recent years off NW Ireland and the West of Scotland.
It seems both civil and military activity is taking its toll on these great creatures of our oceans. Now they must move for NATO and its stupid war games. The Celtic League call for the exercise to be moved – not the whales!
Image: Despite desperate efforts 19 pilot whales out of a pod of 40 died after military exercise activity in 2011.
Celtic League (01/10/20)