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Blue whale deaths in SoCal: ships, not sonar

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Blue Whale Deaths Surge in SoCal: Ships Strikes, Not Sonar is Cause, but Noise May Be Factor – An unprecedented surge in blue whale deaths in Southern California last year has raised concerns about shipping and noise in the busy shipping lanes there. Five blue whales were found dead on beaches last fall, and the three that were fresh enough to examine showed clear signs of being killed by ship strikes; examination of ear tissues showed now sign of hearing damage, and mid-frequency active sonar is not a factor. However, the researchers from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, who performed the analysis of the whales, note that ambient noise levels in the area could have made it difficult for the whales to hear approaching ships, especially if they were directly in front of them, where the ship itself creates a sound shadow, blocking the noise of its engines. The whales were lingering in the shipping channels because their primary food, krill, were congregated there. During October and part of November, ships voluntarily cut their speed in half, to ten knots, and no whales were killed during that time. A National Marine Sanctuary committee formed in response to the rash of deaths last year will monitor blue whale locations this summer and fall, in hopes of averting a similar situation. Source: Santa Barbara Independent, 2/27/08 [READ ARTICLE]

One Response to “Blue whale deaths in SoCal: ships, not sonar”

  1. emily grace Says:

    o my god that is scary and sad