Shipping lanes through the Santa Barbara Channel will soon be narrowed and the southbound lane shifted one nautical mile north, NOAA announced this week. The move, along with similar changes to busy shipping lanes up and down the California coast, was approved by the International Maritime Organization to protect endangered whales — blue, fin, and humpback — from ship strikes. The slow-moving marine mammals’ feeding and migration routes often overlap with current shipping lanes, putting them right in the line of fire. In 2007, four blue whales were hit and killed by ships in the Santa Barbara Channel.


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