Coast Guard Continues Blue Whale Overflight Operations

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

Large whales, including blue whales, humpback whales and fin whales, have recently been sighted in the Santa Barbara Channel and traffic separation scheme between Point Conception and Point Dume. The Coast Guard is working closely with NOAA concerning measures to help protect against future blue whale strikes. The following is a list of the measures that Coast Guard, in conjunction with NOAA, has taken:

  • The Coast Guard issues a Broadcast Notice to Mariners during every regular scheduled Marine information Broadcast on VHF and HF radio. This Notice to Mariners advises 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.
  • Air Station Los Angeles 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.

For more information on U.S. Coast Guard living marine resource protection please visit:
http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-o/g-opl/LMR/LMR.htm

For more information on Blue Whales from NOAA, please visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/bluewhale.htm

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