Blue Whales at Higher Risk from Ship Strikes

Posted: March 26, 2013

By: Patt Brennan [OC Register]

A first-of-its-kind study matching whale habitat to Southern California shipping lanes shows that humpback and fin whales might suffer fewer ship strikes if a new lane is created.

But the solution is not quite so simple for blue whales. These giants of the sea appear to be in the most trouble from ship strikes and would be unlikely to benefit from any change in the four shipping lanes the study considered.  

The scientists who conducted the study also estimated that more blue whales are being struck off the Southern California coast than their population can sustain without raising the risk of depletion.

"At best, the blue whale population is remaining steady," said Jessica Redfern, a marine ecologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service and the study's lead author. "Of the three, we're probably the most concerned about blue whales."

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