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Shipping lanes changed off U.S. West Coast to protect whales

May 31, 2013 at 10:58 PM   |   Comments

LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- Changes have been made in shipping lanes along the California coast to give whales a break, a shipping industry association said Friday.

In an effort to reduce collisions between freighters and whales, routes within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, near the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, have been changed, as well shipping lanes in national marine sanctuaries near San Francisco Bay and the Santa Barbara Channel, the Los Angeles Business Journal reported.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association said the new routes are effective Saturday.

Airplanes will also be used to spot migrating whales, the newspaper said.

The new routes will affect shipping companies that are members of the trade group and other commercial vessels.

The action follows recommendations made by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils and other organizations, with input from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, biologists, researchers and other environmental groups, the newspaper said.

The changes were approved by the International Marine Organization.

"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," association Vice President TL Garrett said the adjustments will be good for both shippers and whales.

said in a statement.

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