SHIPPING LANE SHIFTED TO SAVE RARE WHALES

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SHIPPING LANE SHIFTED TO SAVE RARE WHALES

 user 2007-07-10 at 12:13:00 pm Views: 71
  • #18348

    Shipping Lane Shift to Save Rare Whales
    BOSTON 
    - The busy shipping lanes in and out of Boston Harbor will be narrowed
    and shifted northward Sunday in a bid to lower the risk of rare right
    whales being killed by ships.It’s the first time in U.S. history
    shipping lanes have been changed to protect wildlife.Each year, ships
    from around the world, carrying everything from cars to natural gas,
    make about 3,500 trips through the designated lanes stretching from
    southeast of Cape Cod into the port of Boston.On Sunday, the final
    stretch of that corridor will be given a slight northeast rotation.
    Researchers say that will take ships outside an area with a high
    concentration of North Atlantic right whales and reduces the ship
    strike risk by more than 50 percenkeep them from entering.Ship strikes
    and marine gear entanglements are the top human causes of right whale
    deaths. Twenty-eight deaths blamed on ship strikes have been documented
    since 1972, including eight since 2004.

    North Atlantic right
    whales spend the winter in warm water to the south and migrate to the
    Gulf of Maine each spring before returning south in the fall.The
    shipping lanes have run through the Stellwagen Bank National Marine
    Sanctuary, a vital habitat for whales and other marine life. An
    analysis of 25 years of data of right whale sightings showed the lanes
    crossed an area with dense congregations of the animals, likely because
    that’s where their food is, Merrick said.

    The analysis also
    showed far fewer whales in an area just north of the lanes.The narrower
    lanes were approved by the Coast Guard and the International Maritime
    Organization, and navigators will adjust to them, said Andy Hammond,
    executive director of the Boston Pilots Association. But he said any
    loss of space is important because it reduces the mobility of often
    massive ships in bad weather and various unforeseen circumstances.”You
    don’t want to get into a situation that you can’t maneuver your way out
    of, and to maneuver a large ship is not the same as putting on the
    brakes on a car or truck,” he said.Meyer said the lanes shift is much
    less controversial than a proposal still under federal review to reduce
    the speed limit to 10 knots in areas where whales are active. Shippers
    aren’t convinced slowing down will make a difference for the whales,
    but the benefits of shifting the lanes away from them is clearer, he
    said.Hammond said the lane shift is worth a try because of its possible
    benefits for the whales.”As long as a balance is struck between
    navigational safety and keeping that safety level high, tnd 10 to 22
    minutes to each one-way trip.Lost minutes can be important because
    Boston harbor is too shallow for ships to move in and out when the tide
    is low, said Richard Meyer, executive director of the Boston Shipping
    Association, which represents shipping companies and port employers.
    That could force shippers leave the harbor prematurely or keep them
    from entering.Ship strikes and marine gear entanglements are the top
    human causes of right whale deaths. Twenty-eight deaths blamed on ship
    strikes have been documented since 1972, including eight since
    2004.North Atlantic right whales spend the winter in warm water to the
    south and migrate to the Gulf of Maine each spring before returning
    south in the fall.The shipping lanes have run through the Stellwagen
    Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a vital habitat for whales and other
    marine life. An analysis of 25 years of data of right whale sightings
    showed the lanes crossed an area with dense congregations of the
    animals, likely because that’s where their food is, Merrick said.