Marine News, January 27, 2012: Earthjustice, a coalition of groups aiming to protect the ecosystem, on January 26, 2012 filed a lawsuit in the US District Court, Northern California against National Marine Fisheries. The Fisheries had granted approval to the US Navy for training in the North-West Training Range Complex in 2010 for five years.

Earthjustice represents conservation and American Indian Groups such as Center for Biological Diversity, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Friends of the San Juans, Friends of the Earth, People for Puget Sound and Natural Resources Defense Council. They challenge the Fisheries’ approval to the US navy to train in the stretch of water from Northern California to the border of Canada, which they feel is a biologically critical area along the Oregon, Washington and California coasts.

Steve Mashuda, an attorney for Earthjustice said, “These training exercises will harm dozens of protected species of marine mammals-Southern resident killer whales, blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises through the use of high-intensity mid-frequency sonar”. He also added, “The Fisheries Service fell down on the job and failed to require the Navy to take reasonable and effective actions to protect them.”

The training exercises of the Navy along the West Coast include surface to air gunnery, testing for new weapon system, missile, sink, air to surface bombing and anti-submarine warfare exercises that involve sonar and tracking aircrafts.