Whales are more likely to be struck by oceangoing vessels nowadays.
As the human population and oceangoing traffic expand, interactions with whales increase. Southern California’s waters have a cetacean community with potential for problems.
On March 11 off Cabo San Lucas, a tour boat out for a snorkeling adventure was struck by a leaping whale as they returned from the trip. A 35-year-old Canadian woman died and four others were injured. The whale was unseen, the tour boat did not detour to get a close-up view, and nobody saw it coming until it was too late.
Large commercial vessels strike and sometimes kill cetaceans. Legislation meant to protect can increase the risk of vessel-to-whale collisions. An example of this is when the California Air Resources Board last year implemented the Ocean-Going Vessel Fuel Rule, which requires large commercial ships to use cleaner-burning fuels when traveling close to the mainland coast. To circumvent the regulation, most large ships began traveling farther offshore; this has resulted in a higher risk of ships striking whales.
On July 10, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., Jessica Redfern, who leads the Marine Mammal Spatial Habitat and Risk Program at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, will discuss research intended to reduce the risk of ships striking whales in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Where: Sumner Auditorium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, 8595 La Jolla Shores Drive