Coast Guard Blue Whale Operations Update

SAN PEDRO, Calif — Coast Guard District Eleven continues to support the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in conducting overflights to monitor the locations of blue whales in the Santa Barbara Channel and surrounding area. This information is being passed to vessel agents to increase industry awareness.

Since September 8, 2007, two blue whale carcasses have been discovered in the Santa Barbara Channel, and one was discovered in Long Beach Harbor. The Coast Guard is working closely with NOAA concerning measures to help protect against future blue whale strikes. Commercial mariners are cooperating in this effort. The following is a list of the measures that Coast Guard, in conjunction with NOAA, has taken:

  • The Coast Guard issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners advising mariners transiting through the channel and in and out of Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors to exercise caution. The Broadcast Notice to Mariners includes NOAA’s recommendation that all vessel operators transiting the Santa Barbara Channel do so at speeds not in excess of 10 knots.
  • Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) continues to issue warnings to commercial vessels planning to transit through the Santa Barbara Channel of the potential for blue whales.
  • The Coast Guard issued a press release to vessel agents and the port authorities for Los Angeles and Long Beach notifying them of the potential presence of blue whales in the Santa Barbara Channel and Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors.
  • Coast Guard District Eleven continues to support the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in conducting overflights to monitor the locations of blue whales.
  • NOAA is using its National Weather Service marine radio program to broadcast the Coast Guard’s Broadcast Notice to Mariners with NOAA’s recommendation that all vessel operators transiting the Santa Barbara Channel do so at speeds not in excess of 10 knots.
  • The Coast Guard is continuing to work with NOAA to monitor this situation and assist NOAA in the adoption of other measures as necessary.

Collisions with whales or sightings of injured whales should be reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at (562) 980-4017. Boaters can contact the U.S. Coast Guard on Channel 16.

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