Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Risk to endangered whales from ships in southern California analyzed in new study

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Summary:
Researchers have identified areas off southern California with high numbers of whales and assessed their risk from potentially deadly collisions with commercial ship traffic.

Researchers have identified areas off southern California with high numbers of whales and assessed their risk from potentially deadly collisions with commercial ship traffic in a new study.
Credit: John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research

Researchers have identified areas off southern California with high numbers of whales and assessed their risk from potentially deadly collisions with commercial ship traffic in a study released today in the scientific journal Conservation Biology.

Scientists from NOAA Fisheries, the Marine Mammal Commission and Cascadia Research Collective analyzed data collected over seven years by NOAA on marine mammal and ecosystem research surveys in the Southern California Bight. Maps predicting the density of endangered humpback, fin and blue whales were developed by merging the observed whale sightings with oceanographic conditions to identify the habitat preferred by the different whale species.

"We know several endangered species of whales occur in the waters off southern California," said Jessica Redfern, a NOAA Fisheries marine mammal biologist and lead author of the paper. "What we didn't know, and what this study helps provide, is an understanding of the areas with the highest numbers of whales."

Knowing where whales are more likely to be found in the ocean environment is vitally important to reduce human impacts. Although this information could be used to assess any number of human impacts, the study specifically looked at current and alternative shipping routes to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the risk to humpback, fin and blue whales from ship strikes.

Researchers selected four routes to study; the shipping route in the Santa Barbara Channel, which is the current shipping route; a Central route south of the northern Channel Islands; a Central Fan route, or just the eastern part of the Central route; and a Southern route, a course south of the Central route and constrained by the protected areas around Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, and San Nicolas Islands.

By overlaying the routes with the predicted whale densities, researchers found the route with the lowest risk for humpback whales (Southern route) had the highest risk for fin whales and vice versa. However, risk may be ameliorated for both species in one of the Central routes. Blue whales, however, were at approximately equal risk in all routes considered because of their more even distribution throughout the study area. The authors' estimate of the number of blue whales likely killed by ships exceeds levels established by the Marine Mammal Protection Act to ensure sustainable populations. This result suggests that it is important to find ways to reduce the risk of ships striking blue whales.

"The Southern California Bight is an incredibly complex system with a diverse set of users, including the military, shipping industry and fishing industry. All users have specific needs and their input is necessary to plan the best and safest uses of these waters," said Redfern, "This paper helps to incorporate whale habitat use in the planning process so that their needs can be considered as well."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. V. Redfern, M. F. Mckenna, T. J. Moore, J. Calambokidis, M. L. Deangelis, E. A. Becker, J. Barlow, K. A. Forney, P. C. Fiedler, S. J. Chivers. Assessing the Risk of Ships Striking Large Whales in Marine Spatial Planning. Conservation Biology, 2013; 27 (2): 292 DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12029

Cite This Page:

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Risk to endangered whales from ships in southern California analyzed in new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325183949.htm>.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. (2013, March 25). Risk to endangered whales from ships in southern California analyzed in new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325183949.htm
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. "Risk to endangered whales from ships in southern California analyzed in new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325183949.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins