Some environmentalists are saying wind turbines pose a threat to whales after a family of minke whales were found dead in the United Kingdom.
According to reports by the Times (London) and Daily Caller, a young minke whale was found dead in the United Kingdom on May 20. Its mother was found dead on a nearby beach the same day, and a third whale washed ashore on May 21. It’s believed the three whales were part of the same family.
According to marine wildlife experts, the whales were likely disoriented by nearby wind turbines, which can affect the sonar whales use to navigate.
“My personal opinion is that could be a consequence of wind farms and the amount of sand in the water,” said John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, according to the Times. “If you stop the boat off the coast you can feel the vibrations and hear the noise.”
“There are studies that show that the sounds created by the operational noise of the turbines create vibrations under that may in fact disorient marine mammals like whales,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, told the Daily Caller.
Writing for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow in March 2016, CFACT Senior Policy Advisor Paul Driessen and Mark Duchamp, the president of Save the Eagles International, said in addition to being dangerous to whales and other marine animals, offshore wind turbines can cause problems for human vessels and aircraft.
“In addition, having forests of these enormous turbines off our coasts will greatly increase the risk of collisions for surface vessels, especially in storms or dense fog, as well as for submarines,” Driessen and Duchamp wrote. “It will also impair radar and sonar detection of hostile ships and low-flying aircraft, including potential terrorists, and make coastal waters more dangerous for Coast Guard helicopters and other rescue operations.”
“The offshore wind industry makes no sense from an economic, environmental, defense or shipping perspective,” Driessen and Duchamp wrote. “To exempt these enormous installations from endangered species and other laws that are applied with a heavy hand to all other industries—and even to the U.S. and Royal Navy—is irresponsible, and even criminal.”