Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Tiny sand shrimp are a big deal


I read in Feb. 26 edition of the The Record on the front page, “Langley leaders seek sand shrimp harvest moratorium.” The concern was to make sure there was enough sand shrimp to keep the gray whales coming back because they are an important tourism draw and that, according to the Langley Shrimp Advisory Committee, “whales are not visiting Langley as frequently as in years past.”

I would suggest there’s a connection and my concern is that not enough local people seem to be aware of the enormous naval build-up on Whidbey Island and environs. The Navy has published a “take list” (a list of injured and killed marine mammals) that it is expecting to “take” in the next five years in coastal waters, from Canada to northern California, for their operations. It will be about 650,000. It looks to me like the Navy has declared war on marine mammals.

The “take” of the gray whales, the ones our Langley leaders are concerned about, is estimated to be 20. These are the whales that are referred to by Mayor Fred McCarthy when he said, “Whales have a good memory.”

The Navy intends to use this enormous area for training, using sonar, missile and explosives exercises. Have you ever read about a whale beaching itself mysteriously? Many of these have been attributed to sonar tests. It appears that the Navy considers whales to be “collateral damage,” to which I would include, damage done to citizens in proximity of the “sound of freedom.”

If, as Mayor McCarthy has said, “Whales have a good memory,” then how long do you think it will take the Navy to drive them away from Langley?

If this does indeed happen and the whales are driven away, then it won’t matter how many shrimp are harvested because there won’t be any whales coming around to eat them.

Which always brings me back to “what, precisely, are we defending?” because it certainly doesn’t appear to be our homes, health, and environment.



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