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Mexico ocean survey shut down

Federal magistrate issues temporary restraining order.

Laura DeFrancesco(defrancesco1@earthlink.net)

In response to a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biodiversity, a federal magistrate in San Francisco on Monday issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the research vessel Maurice Ewing from continuing its National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research off the coast of Baja California.

Earlier this month, the Ewing temporarily suspended its ocean floor survey when marine biologists raised fears that two beaked-whale strandings in the Sea of Cortez were connected to the low-frequency acoustic noise used in the Ewing's study. However, when a direct link to the whales' death could not be established, the Ewing resumed the research, which entails firing a battery of acoustic guns into the ocean. Under this week's ruling, the Ewing has suspended work and is heading for port.

The lawsuit is based on a pair of laws, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), both of which...

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