Dead whale washes up on Pismo Beach amid offshore sonar use

May 14, 2024


A dead whale washed up on Pismo Beach Sunday morning amid a company’s use of sonar off the coast.

The small whale carcass appeared on the shore near Tower 5 north of the Pismo Pier, attracting numerous seagulls. The tide pulled the small whale back into the ocean later Sunday, and it has not washed back onto the beach since. [Tribune]

The whale’s cause of death is unknown. It appeared to be a juvenile whale.

In the aftermath of the federal government auctioning off three offshore wind energy sites 20 to 30 miles off the coast near Morro Bay, Equinor brought its survey vessel, Island Pride, to the Central Coast from Norway in April. The boat began survey work on the ocean floor on April 19.

Since Equinor began using sonar off the coast, local fishermen have reported catch numbers are down 67% to 70%. On Feb. 29, two groups of commercial fishermen filed a legal challenge against the state’s wind energy plans, arguing the process violates their constitutional right to fish. The lawsuit asks the court to revoke survey permits and not to allow any new permits until proper mitigation and protections are in place.


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To a whale, toxic rap..

To be fair to the offshore noise makers, that carcass looks to have been dead long before the sonar guys started working out there.

What do ya think… say 40 million per whale sent to the save the whales Greenpeace organization billed to the sonar company?….

The hard right always amazes me with its hypocrisy. Right wingers could care less about whales. They’ve said nothing for years about the harm caused to whales by military sonar usage. The progressive Natural Resources Defense Council successfully sued the government over sonar usage by the Navy in 2003. Republicans fought that lawsuit tooth and nail and have tried to smear that organization for years.

Now, I’m supposed to believe the right is somehow concerned about whales? They are only concerned with their big oil donors and those donors absolutely do not want alternative energy to take away their market shares.

As for fishing being destroyed, there is absolutely no evidence that sonar kills fish. Studies have shown that while potentially harmful long term, sonar is not responsible for fish dying during specific periods of time. The sonar work currently being done will not last long.

Whales are different than fish because they actually use sonar to communicate and scientists believe that outside sonar confuses them and can cause them serious problems. Again, however, the current sonar use is finite.

Oh Adam, heavy sigh where do I begin? First of all, I’m “right” and I believe in common sense. I believe in conservation while making a living from the ocean. On our end this isn’t about “oil”, this is about right and wrong. Foreign companies coming in and having an impact on our ocean.

As to no harmful effects-this morning I talked to another fisherman. His black cod catch is off about 70% since the testings started as compared to last year. We haven’t fished that area for a few years, so we can’t compare it to our records. Another fisherman was stumped when his catch when down for two years with no apparent reason until it was reviled that there were seismic tests in his fishing area that went undisclosed to fishermen. This was a couple of years ago. Yes this is anecdotal evidence, but fishermen are very aware of changes, but we often get ignored.

Again, this isn’t a “right or left” issue.

While I share your concerns, I would ask what is worse for fish or anything else that lives in the ocean? A few sonar tests or climate change? If we continue down the road we are traveling there will be very few fish left with habitats dwindling because of warming oceans, rising sea levels, droughts and ocean acidification.

Using sonar is not optimal, but it is the best way for Equinor to survey the ocean bottom in order t build the offshore wind farm. A wind farm will ease pressure on California’s electrical grid as we transition to zero-emission vehicles. It is imperative to do so to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

And, yes, it is a right or left issue and if Trump becomes president he will scrap the wind farms and big solar in favor of more oil drilling. Luckily we don’t live in an area with a lot of oil, but there’s plenty in Alaska, and that means supreme environmental degradation on a monumental scale. Of course, you don’t live there, so who cares?

When that much money is involved, it is beyond imperative that due diligence is exercised. There are as many who would destroy our environment and leave us with the damage in the so-called “green” economy as there are in fossil fuels. A switch to clean renewables is an existential must, but not without knowing, in advance, whether or not it is a safe, reliable alternative. This project most definitely is not. It may bring in money temporarily, but in the end, it will destroy our way of living and will leave us with NOTHING. IMHO.

Support our fishermen and protect what we live here for. Please.

If it was determined that the cause of death is unknown, the article sure points towards sonar use.

Time to pull the permit and see who said it was okay to run the sonar mapping while baby whales are in town.