Russian naval warships in Black Sea reportedly killing ocean life

Dolphins and other ocean life are at threat from Russian naval ships operating in the Black Sea, researchers worry - and the problem is hard to identify.

Russian naval warships in Black Sea reportedly killing ocean life
1 minute & 33 seconds read time

Low-frequency sonar used by naval warships and submarines leads dolphins to a perilous death, according to oceanographers. Since Russia's mass invasion of Ukraine, there has been a noticeable ripple effect from naval movements.

As feared early in the conflict, warship sonar directly interrupts a dolphin's echolocation. Once disoriented, dolphins can no longer navigate, identify prey, and starve. In extreme circumstances, dolphins could accidentally swim into underwater mines.

Here is what Ivan Rusiev, biologist and researcher at the Tuzlivski Iymany National Nature Park, had to say:

"The sea washes up no more than 5% of all dead animals ashore. They cannot be detected or counted from the shore, so we believe that during the war of the Russian barbarians against Ukraine, probably tens of thousands of dolphins have already died."

From February to mid-May, over 100 dolphin bodies washed ashore along the Turkish coast. Unfortunately, the war makes conducting any sustainable research extremely unlikely. Researchers warn it could be years before more is learned, though the Turkish Marine Research Foundation warned of a possible "crisis in biodiversity."

It's not just warships in the Black Sea that pose a danger to dolphins, whales, and other marine life, either. Over 20,000 whales are killed per year following ship strikes, according to research from the Friend of the Sea non-profit group. It's a mix of different whale species and in different parts of the world - the humpback whales in Panama, blue whales near Sri Lanka, or sperm whales that fancy the Canary Islands.

There are more reports of mass beachings of whales, with initial findings blaming climate change.

There is growing concern regarding the methods used by ships to navigate the ocean. Designated shipping lanes regulate congested waterways, but researchers wonder if the same technique in the open ocean can help save whales. While it seems unlikely ships will have full-time marine mammal observation efforts onboard, it's a topic of conversation that will certainly continue.

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An experienced tech journalist and marketing specialist, Michael joins TweakTown to cover everything from cars & electric vehicles to solar and green energy topics. A former Staff Writer at DailyTech, Michael is now the Cars & Electric Vehicles News Reporter and will contribute news stories on a daily basis. In addition to contributing here, Michael also runs his own tech blog,, while he looks to remain busy in the tech world.

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