Thanks for the fish

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 – Page updated at 12:00 AM
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Dolphin patrol hearings scheduled

By The Associated Press
BANGOR, Kitsap County — A Navy plan to use dolphins and sea lions to patrol its Hood Canal submarine base is set for environmental hearings next month.

Nearly two years ago, Navy officials announced the start of work on an environmental-impact statement for the Swimmer Interdiction Security System at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

The resulting draft-impact statement, listing options for securing the four-mile waterfront, is the subject of hearings Feb. 11 in Silverdale and Feb. 12 in SeaTac.

The Navy’s preference is for a combination of trained California sea lions and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to guard against swimmers breaching the base’s water perimeter. Other alternatives are to use sea lions only, human swimmers, remotely operated equipment or to make no change.

Under the preferred plan, trained dolphins would be used at night and would be accompanied by handlers in small boats. The dolphins would alert the handler if they noticed an intruder. The handler would then place a strobe light on a dolphin’s nose, and the creature would return and bump the intruder, causing the light to come free and float to the surface.

Guards would then find and subdue the intruder.

Sea lions would be trained to carry in their mouths a special cuff attached to a long rope and clamp the cuff around the leg of a suspicious swimmer, who then could be reeled in for questioning.

~ by fredfelleman on January 28, 2009.

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