"Panel Links Underwater Mapping Sonar To Whale Stranding for 1st Time"

"For the first time, a rigorous scientific investigation has associated a mass whale stranding with a kind of sonar that is widely used to map the ocean floor, a finding that has set off alarms among energy companies and others who say the technology is critical to safe navigation of the planet’s waters."

"The mysterious stranding of about 100 melon-headed whales in a shallow Madagascar lagoon in 2008 set off a rapid international response — a few of the eight- to 10-foot marine mammals were rescued, necropsies conducted, a review panel formed.

Did they follow prey into the lagoon? Were they sick? Was it the weather or chemical toxins?

The panel recently gave its best answer, and it is causing ripples of concern. For the first time, a rigorous scientific investigation has associated a mass whale stranding with a kind of sonar that is widely used to map the ocean floor, a finding that has set off alarms among energy companies and others who say the technology is critical to safe navigation of the planet’s waters.

The independent review panel appointed by the International Whaling Commission concluded Sept. 25 that a high-powered, 'multi-beam echosounder system' (MBES) was 'the most plausible and likely behavioral trigger' for the stranding. About 75 of the animals, which normally inhabit deep ocean waters, died."

Lenny Bernstein reports for the Washington Post October 6, 2013.

Source: Wash Post, 10/07/2013