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Program To Get Ships To Slow Off Coast To Reduce Whale Strikes, Cut Air Pollution Grows In 2017


A unique program to improve the safety of whales, and at the same time reduce air pollution along the California coast by getting ships to slow down is reporting new success.

The Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies program compensates shipping companies for voluntarily slowing the speed of their vessels to 12 knots or less in key coastal waters. The slower speeds reduce the chance of accidental whale strikes, and cut air pollution at the same time.

The 2017 effort expanded from the Santa Barbara Channel to the Bay Area for the first time, with 11 companies participating.  It’s credited with reducing the amount of nitrogen oxides released by 83 million tons, and greenhouse gasses by 2600 metric tons.

Air pollution agencies in Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, and the Bay Area teamed up with National Marine Sanctuaries for the program.