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JUNE 4, 2015

Homer Fishermen protest Navy's plans for War Games


"I am appalled that the United States government has decided to do these exercises in the
most productive habitat for salmon and whales in the world," Homer seiner Jamie Ross said as
he ran the hydraulics to lift a freezer aboard the F/V Shadowfax in Homer Wednesday night. The
Homer fleet is preparing to leave for the fishing season and Ross had no kind words for the
Navy's plans to conduct training exercises in the Gulf of Alaska that will be perilous to salmon
and marine mammals." They need to go somewhere else. Like the middle of the ocean."
Homer seiner Mike Macaluso agreed. "This is no game. This is our livelihood. This is the
wrong place at the wrong time. It is in the middle of the salmon and marine mammal
migration...and in waters that are supposed to be protected. It's just nuts."
Homer fishermen and residents plan a protest against the Navy Friday June 5, 2015 on the
Homer Spit offshore from the Seafarers Memorial at 5 pm. The Navy exercises coincide with
migrations of salmon and whales in an area vital to both the commercial fishery and Alaska's
most diverse population of Native subsistence users.
The areas where the exercises will take place are State Marine Protected Areas, NOAA
Fisheries Protected areas and include essential fish habitat.
The Navy acknowledges the harm and deaths posed to marine mammals by the exercises but
admitted the impact on migratory salmon was largely unknown.
Olga Von Ziegesar, director of humpback whale research group Eye of the Whale in Prince
William Sound said "regardless of what the Navy says it will or will not deploy this season I am
concerned about all the future years of trainings, not just 2015. The Navy has requested a five
year federal permit and published a plan and an official EIS document (goaeis.com). There are
many fish and marine mammals that will gravely be affected by the sonar and explosives they
are planning for their practice. The Navy claims sonar does not affect marine mammals but it
has been proven that many strandings of the rare beaked whales were caused by Navy sonar.
NRDC won its case against the Navy in the Bahamas. We have an unstudied population of these
deep diving whales in the Alaska trench off Kodiak and Seward. They surface rapidly to escape
the sonar waves and get the bends and die."
The communities of Cordova and Kodiak have passed resolutions that would compel the
Navy to move 200 miles offshore and conduct their exercises at a different time of year.
A unifying banner painted by Homer activist Mavis Muller after the Exxon Oil Spill will
again be displayed during the flotilla protest after traveling around the world to contemporary art
museums in New York, Australia, and Spain in climate change and oil spill focused exhibitions.

Alaskans Still Fighting for the Earth is a message still relevant 26 years later, Muller said.
"Alaskans have been fighting to protect their waters and fisheries on all fronts, from oil drilling,
coal & mineral mining, and now this immense threat from the US military. This fight is ongoing,
seemingly without end, but Alaskans are committed, we're "still fighting for the protection of all
the water bodies that connect us as communities and as a small world."
The Navy EIS calls for dumping 300,000 plus pounds of dentris and 5 tons of toxic
chemicals annually but Navy spokesmen told fishermen in Cordova Wednesday night that
estimate has been reduced. Von Ziegesar says regardless of what the final numbers are the Navy
will not leave the Gulf the same and has no plans to mitigate negative affects to the habitat.
Contact Shelley Gill
907 299-1178
whaledetective@yahoo.com