Save LBI Lays Out Evidence for Cause of Whale Deaths


Press Release
Save Long Beach Island Inc.
PO Box 579
Ship Bottom, NJ 08008
For immediate release:

August 15,2023

Save LBI Lays Out Evidence for Cause of Whale Deaths
On August 4th, 2023, Save Long Beach Island (LBI) filed a lawsuit seeking to
enjoin the ongoing offshore wind energy vessel surveys using high intensity
noise equipment until a thorough investigation could be done and new
protocols developed for estimating noise impacts from wind energy
development activities. On August 14 th Save LBI responded to defendant and
defendant-intervenor motions, laying out in detail the evidence linking the
vessel surveys to the recent whale deaths.

Evidence of Causation of Whale Deaths by Vessel Surveys
The federal defendant concludes that the vessel surveys are not the cause of
the recent whale and dolphin deaths, and that there is no evidence linking
the two. In fact, there is ample evidence leading to a conclusion that the
surveys were and are the only plausible cause, as summarized below:

1. There was an unprecedented spike in whale and dolphin deaths off the
New Jersey shore beginning in December, 2022.

2. The number of survey vessels operating increased from two in November
to six in December when the deaths began, and were the only new presence
in the area.

3. Survey vessel locations and times are correlated with locations and times
of the whale deaths.

4. The survey approvals grossly underestimate the number of incidents of
whale exposure to elevated noise levels by using unsupported technical and
scientific assumptions, including:

• an arbitrary, low, noise source level for the noise-controlling unit,
obtained from a smaller, less powerful surrogate device, as opposed to
higher levels easily obtained from noise measurements of the device

• a scientifically unsupported, high noise dissipation rate versus a
moderate, more common one used elsewhere for other authorizations,

• a single, unrealistic whale disturbance noise level criterion, as opposed
to a gradual behavior response to various noise levels based on whale
observations, and already used for other authorizations.
5. The noise from the controlling vessel device is in the frequency range of
the whale’s hearing and vocalizations, and extends far from the vessels at
levels that will disturb its behavior, which can then lead to serious harm and

6. Similar marine mammal stranding have been observed worldwide
associated with vessel surveys using air guns and mid-frequency sonar
devices, that have similar noise level propagation in horizontal directions
where most of marine mammals are, and that

7. No other plausible cause or causes of the spike in whale deaths have been
put forth by the agencies or the wind energy companies.


It should not require Court direction for the federal agency to investigate the
obvious. It should undertake the requested remedies voluntarily, and identify
the noise devices being used on each vessel, which it has withheld.

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