The U.S. Coast Guard is getting some good initial reviews from an environmental group, and a local congresswoman for a plan to modify Santa Barbara Channel shipping lanes to help reduce the chances of ships striking whales.
The changes include narrowing the shipping lanes to avoid the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Other parts of the proposal include creating lanes on the ocean side of the islands, to try to keep shipping from wandering through test ranges used by the U-S Navy.
Santa Barbara’s Environmental Defense Center, which has been an advocate of efforts to better protect whales, has called the proposal a positive step, as has Democratic Congresswoman Lois Capps of Santa Barbara.
They’re urging the Coast Guard to adopt the changes.
The EDC has also been calling for speed limits in the channel to reduce the risk of strikes, but the Coast Guard says that falls under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In 2007, four blue whales were killed in separate ship strike incidents in the Santa Barbara Channel.