Friday, December 28, 2012

Mariners Change Lanes for Endangered Whales

Incoming Humpback Whale, Monterey Bay, Ca.
The International Maritime Organization approved new vessel lane changes in an effort to significantly reduce deadly ship strikes on endangered whales migrating along California's coast.

Slow-moving endangered whales like the blue, fin and humpback whales  have died from injuries caused by passing cargo ships that follow designated routes along California's Bay Area, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Barbara Channel waters.  This brought about proposed rerouting of large vessels, which was recently approved.

The  Los Angeles Times reports:
The route adjustments were recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after four blue whales were thought to have been killed by ship strikes in the Santa Barbara Channel in 2007 and an additional five whales were suspected ship-strike victims off the Central and Northern California coast in 2010.

The shipping industry has supported the modest lane changes, which shift the southbound lane 1.2 miles away from Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands. The current route traverses a steep underwater drop-off just north of these islands — an area where blue whales congregate to feast on krill.

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