While cargo shipments boom, ship strikes imperil whales in California and worldwide

Earlier this year, horrific photos of two fin whales pinned to the hull of an Australian naval ship gained worldwide attention. The vessel had been conducting exercises in the waters near San Diego. The two bodies, one 65 feet long, the other just 25 feet, were draped over the hull. “Anywhere you have major shipping routes and whales in the same place, you are going to see collisions,” said Russell Leaper, an expert with the International Whaling Commission. “Unfortunately, that’s the situation in many places.” While gray whales and humpbacks make up 70% of the reported strikes in the government’s database, it’s the endangered and threatened populations such as North Atlantic right whales and the gargantuan Pacific blues that concern scientists the most. For those whales, each death comes with a risk of population or species extinction. >click to read< 12:06

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