European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Active Sonar
European Parliament Adopts Resolution Calling for a Moratorium on the Use of High Intensity Active Naval Sonar
Strasbourg, France (October 28, 2004) - The European Parliament today adopted a resolution which calls on the Member States to adopt a moratorium on the deployment of high-intensity active naval sonar until a global assessment of their cumulative environmental impact on marine mammals, fish and other marine life has been completed. The resolution also calls for the European Commission to conduct a study and to provide an assessment of the impact of current practices in European waters.
The resolution was tabled by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and makes reference to the multitude of documented mass stranding events associated with mid-frequency active sonar use going back to the 1980's.
The resolution also cites the growing body of scientific evidence supporting the association of active sonar with damage to marine creatures, including an article published in Nature, Vol 425, October 9, 2003, and also the recommendations of the Scientific Committee of the 56th International Whaling Commission meeting held in July 2004. The resolution also makes reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which defines noise as pollution and requires member States to assess the potential impact of their activities on the marine environment and to communicate the results of such assessments.
The European Parliament represents over 375 million citizens of 25 European countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The resolution was adopted by 441 votes in favor, 15 against with 14 abstentions. The resolution also instructs Josep Borrell Fontelles, the President of the European Parliament, to forward the resolution to the Council of Ministers (comprising the member states' governments' representatives) and to the European Commission, who has the ultimate power to initiate any legislation on the issue.