Paul Wellman (file)

The U.S. Coast Guard released a study last week for the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports that, environmental groups say, is an important step toward reducing the threat of ship strikes on blue, fin, and humpback whales in the Santa Barbara Channel. According to the Environmental Defense Center, the study recommends that the existing separation between the shipping lanes in the channel be narrowed from two nautical miles to one nautical mile. This would allow the inbound lane to be moved one nautical mile to the north and away from the “shelf edge” habitat where whales feed. Also suggested was the creation of formal shipping lanes on the south side of the Channel Islands, a route often taken by the shipping industry to avoid compliance with a recently enacted clean air law that mandates large vessels burn low-sulfur fuels within 24 miles of the California coastline.


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