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PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, July 10) - Conservationists say the Pacific Ocean's whales and smaller marine mammals will be better protected during military training exercises, Radio Australia reports.

That is because the U.S. Navy has agreed to increased safety measures while using sonar near Hawai‘i.

The change in method came in a settlement with the National Resources Defense Council and other groups.

The Navy has agreed not to use mid-frequency sonar during training within a 25-nautical mile buffer zone around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, an area rich in marine life.

The settlement reached on Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles also called for the Navy to post lookouts for whales and reduce the intensity of the sonar if any are nearby.

July 11, 2006

[PIR editor’s note: PIR archives show that, in 2002, a lawyer in Hawaii set a legal precedent by filing suit against U.S. president Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of marine mammals to better regulate naval sonar activities.]

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf

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