Accession Number:



Radar-Based Detection, Tracking and Speciation of Marine Mammals from Ships

Descriptive Note:

Project rept.

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In addition to ship strikes, another cause of marine mammal injury and death is from exposure to high acoustic source levels e.g., those encountered during Navy-sponsored Low Frequency Active LFA sonar tests. Irrespective of the method of mammal injury or death, the act of injuring or killing whales can and does result in litigation proceedings. This is a consequence of the legal protection that Cetaceans whales and dolphins are granted in U.S. waters by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 as amended in 1994, with some species additionally protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Previously developed mitigation technologies, such as passive acoustic and visual observation, still fall significantly short of achieving the detection performance necessary to achieve full marine mammal mitigation. Radar surveillance technology, being developed under the current supported program, represents a fundamental paradigm shift and new approach toward the goal of achieving robust marine mammal mitigation. The eventual long-term goal of this work, if successful under the baseline and option programs, is to develop and transition this new radar surveillance technology to both the military and commercial fleets. The primary benefit would be the mitigation of harmful effects on marine mammals due to acoustic testing and ship strikes. The overall objective of the baseline effort is to establish the ability of current or planned ship-based radars, augmented by specialized signal processing, to detect, discriminate, and track geo-locate a number of different marine mammal species e.g., great whales, schooling dolphins, etc. under a variety of representative sea environments e.g., Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, etc.. During FY05, the authors successfully demonstrated this technology for the first time from a ship-based platform during an experiment called CEDAR CEtacean Detection radAR in the Mediterranean Sea.

Subject Categories:

  • Biology
  • Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment
  • Target Direction, Range and Position Finding

Distribution Statement: