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Shipping lane crosses Blue Whale Colony

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Hi all,

 

I just came back from a trip to Sri Lanka where a major shipping route crosses the territory of the world's biggest blue whale colony. This leads to ship collisions and excess mortality that could be easily avoided at no cost. I heard from a ship captain who has worked on that route that there is virtually no downside to moving the shipping lane. This is a no-brainer and the only thing that needs to happen is that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) marks the colony's location on their charts and eventually moves the shipping lane a little bit further out to sea. This is probably best achieved if some of the big environmental organizations such as the WWF lobby the IMO and give them a hurry-up. Please watch the following video and help getting the word out:

 

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If there is no downside to moving the shipping lane, what is their reason for not moving it?

Steve

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A friend of mine is currently researching the Sri Lankan blue whales and has had good coverage in the media (at least in Australia). I would think that any movement of shipping lanes would need a scientific basis with a realistic and effective alternative shipping route. Jumping up and down too much prior to having the science in place may discredit the cause.

http://www.research.uwa.edu.au/postgraduat...ofile/1/id/2087

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A friend of mine is currently researching the Sri Lankan blue whales and has had good coverage in the media (at least in Australia). I would think that any movement of shipping lanes would need a scientific basis with a realistic and effective alternative shipping route. Jumping up and down too much prior to having the science in place may discredit the cause.

http://www.research.uwa.edu.au/postgraduat...ofile/1/id/2087

 

Indeed, the situation is more complex and grim than initially thought. Change of shipping lanes isn't going to happen (anytime soon). Apparently, it may not even solve the problem. Still, I disagree with the notion that no action should be taken now. Compared to the long ocean journeys these container ships take, the blue whale hot spots are small and I don't see why one couldn't at least slow the ships down in these areas to reduce mortality:

 

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/05/11/...must-slow-down/

 

Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem. They find quite a few dead ones every year and there are likely many more that are not recovered. For right whales, researchers worked out that only ~20% of whales killed by ship strike are found. Recovery rate in SL could be lower. The status quo is unacceptable. There are only two parameters that you can tweak: shipping route and speed. Research isn't going to show that ships need to go closer to shore or faster. So why not give the whales the benefit of doubt and act now?

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Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem. They find quite a few dead ones every year and there are likely many more that are not recovered. For right whales, researchers worked out that only ~20% of whales killed by ship strike are found. Recovery rate in SL could be lower. The status quo is unacceptable. There are only two parameters that you can tweak: shipping route and speed. Research isn't going to show that ships need to go closer to shore or faster. So why not give the whales the benefit of doubt and act now?

I have no doubt it is a serious problem and good on you for tackling it head on. My only suggestion is making contact with Asha through the link I provided to see where she is at with her research, what her preliminary findings are and what she thinks might be the right approach. Asides from her scientific training and current study, she is Sri Lankan born and bred and might provide some good political insite.

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