Navy follows strict protocols for exercises during whale migration season

Spectacular show: The whales are putting on a spectacular show inside and outside Jervis Bay at the moment during their annual migration. Photo: Dolphin Watch Cruises - Jervis Bay
Spectacular show: The whales are putting on a spectacular show inside and outside Jervis Bay at the moment during their annual migration. Photo: Dolphin Watch Cruises - Jervis Bay

NAVY said exercises last week off Jervis Bay did not impact on the annual whale migration.

The Beecroft Weapons Range near Currarong was closed for defence activities and while there was no bombing during the exercise, navy said gunfire support (firing shells from ships onto land-based targets), was carried out, which was a regular activity.

Navy’s response was the same as last year when the Greens spokesperson Justin Field questioned the impact on whales during exercises at the weapons range and in waters around the Jervis Bay Marine Park during the migration.

“Navy operates under strict guidelines,” a defence spokesperson said.

“Military activities are carefully planned and controlled. Environmental protection is a major component of this planning.”

The spokesperson said the RAN was committed to be a leader in managing the environment sustainably to support the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF’s) ability to protect the country and its national interests.

HMAS Anzac fires her five inch main gun off the coast of Jervis Bay. Photo: Paul McCallum

HMAS Anzac fires her five inch main gun off the coast of Jervis Bay. Photo: Paul McCallum

“At all times, environmental restrictions are observed in accordance with the RAN’s environmental procedure cards (EPCs), which form part of the ADF Maritime Activities Environmental Management Plan,” the spokesperson said.

“The measures had proven to be effective when exercising in whale migration areas.

“The procedures included in the EPCs are routinely reviewed and have been assessed by the Department of the Environment, as the national regulatory authority, and relevant interest groups.”

Defence said the use of active sonar by navy frigates was infrequent, with sonar usually only used during occasional exercises with submarines, or switched on briefly for a daily functionality checks. Sonars were inactive at most times when RAN ships are at sea.

Further information on the RAN’s commitment to the environment can be found at: http://www.navy.gov.au/ about/organisation/environment

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