A new plan to protect whales in San Francisco

Whales Ship Strikes

John Calambokidis/AP

In this photo taken August 14, 2008 and provided by John Calambokidis, a blue whale is shown near a cargo ship in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. The whales have suction-cup attached tags to so their underwater behavior and reaction can be monitored during the close passes near ships.

Whales Ship Strikes

Sophie Webb/AP

In this July 19, 2010 photo released by PRBO/NOAA, shown is a closeup of krill taken in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on an ACCESS  cruise off the Northern California coast. Whales, including endangered blue whales and humpbacks, have been feeding off the coast in record numbers in recent years, colliding with large ships coming in and out of San Francisco Bay at higher-than-usual rates.

Whales Ship Strikes

John Calambokidis/AP

In this photo taken August 16, 2008 and provided by John Calambokidis, a blue whale is shown near a cargo ship in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. The whales have suction-cup attached tags to so their underwater behavior and reaction can be monitored during the close passes near ships.


Federal maritime officials have approved a plan to protect whales in and around San Francisco Bay after seeing an uptick in the number of collisions between the marine mammals and large ships.

There have been many victims of such accidents in recent years as the number of blue, fin and humpback whales surged along the California coast, lured by plentiful krill, the shrimp-like organisms they eat. All three species are endangered.

The new plan will reroute shipping traffic at one of the world's busiest ports, and establish better ways to track whale locations.

The changes crafted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shipping industry representatives, whale researchers and the Coast Guard will likely take effect next year, after a review by the United Nations International Maritime Organization.

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