Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies - Vessel Speed Reduction in California
June 11, 2019
Jessica Morten, Resource Protection Specialist, contractor to NOAA's Channel Islands and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries through the Greater Farallones Association
California's nutrient-rich coastal waters are home to several species of large whales, including gray whales and endangered blue, humpback, and fin whales. The state is also home to four major shipping ports – San Diego, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland – that result in thousands of large container and tanker transits taking place within California national marine sanctuary waters. In the past decade, over 10 whale fatalities have been recorded along the California coast as a result of ship and whale collisions, and recent research suggests that many more of these ship strikes are going undetected each year. To address this global issue, national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast have been working with a number of partners to better understand the issue of ship strikes and slow vessels down to reduce harmful air emissions and protected endangered whales.