• October 9, 2020

The Celtic League has lodged a protest with the office of the Secretary General of NATO over a forthcoming NATO exercise being undertaken in areas where concentrations of marine mammals have gathered.

The text of the email sent to the NATO Secretary General is set out below:

“Jens Stoltenberg

Secretary General

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Boulevard Léopold III

1110 Bruxelles


By – email1st October 2020

Dear Secretary General Stoltenberg,

I write to protest at the decision of NATO to proceed with the Joint Warrior 2020-2 Exercise due to get underway off Scotland on Saturday next.

You will be aware that concentrations of Bottlenose Whales have arrived in one of the major assembly areas for Naval units involved in the exercise (the Gare Loch, Argyll) and while there are suggestions these wonderful creatures will be ‘shepherded’ away from the area prior to the exercise quite frankly the idea that you can ‘herd’ whales out of the way of the military is absurd and says something for the competence of the body you currently head.

Sadly Joint Warrior and other NATO exercises have in the past led to serious loss (death and injury) of marine mammals not just during the exercise but also during clean up operations thereafter.

It is reported to be unusual that concentrations of the current whale pod in the Gare Loch have occurred and it perhaps indicates that pods of both this and other whale populations are inshore in your exercise area (possibly) due to climatic changes.

NATO should as a matter of urgency reappraise its decision to hold this exercise and ensure that no significant whale pods are in the area where warships using sonar are deployed or indeed where there is live firing i.e. at Cape Wrath further North in Scotland.

NATOs role is to defend Europe NOT to destroy its marine wildlife.

I trust you will employ yourself to ensure there is no repeat of fatal loss of whale population and indeed damage to wildlife and fauna such as has occurred of the West of Britain after other NATO exercises.

Yours faithfully

J B Moffatt

Assistant General Secretary

Celtic League”

Image: NATO HQ Brussels – Inset: Jens Stoltenberg NATO SG

Bernard Moffatt, Celtic League (01/10/20)

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