Los Angeles Business Journal

Shipping Routes Changed to Save the Whales

By Jonathan Polakoff Friday, May 31, 2013

To reduce freighter collisions with whales near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association announced Friday it is changing routes.

Starting June 1, shipping lanes within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary will be adjusted to reduce the risk of collisions with whales. Airplanes will also be used to spot whales migrating along the California coast.

The trade group represents terminal operators and ocean carriers that trade at U.S. West Coast ports. The new routes will affect PMSA member shipping companies and other commercial vessels. Shipping routes in national marine sanctuaries near the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Barbara Channel will also be adjusted.

The measures were recommended by Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils and other organizations with input from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, the United States Coast Guard, biologists, researchers, and other representatives of the environmental community. The plans were approved by the International Marine Organization.

TL Garrett, vice president at PMSA in Long Beach, said the adjustments will be good for both shippers and whales.

“We are in full agreement with the shipping changes as they will help assure the protection of both human and marine life and the continued safe and efficient flow of commerce in and out of California ports,” Garrett said in a statement.