Enviros: Cut Ship Speeds To Save West Coast Whales

"A coalition of environmental groups is asking the federal government to require ships traveling through California's marine sanctuaries to slow down to avoid fatal collisions with whales, a problem they say has climbed to "unsustainable levels."

Four groups filed a petition Monday asking the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish a 10-knot limit for large commercial vessels traveling through California's four National Marine Sanctuaries in the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank. Some freighters travel through those waters at more than twice that speed.

Nearly 50 whales have been hit by ships off the California coast in the last decade, according to experts, who believe the number is probably much higher because many accidents go unreported.

Shipping groups say a speed limit would greatly delay cargo reaching port and more than double the time it takes the fastest vessels to travel through the sanctuaries."

Tony Barboza reports for the Los Angeles Times June 7, 2011.

Source: LA Times, 06/07/2011