PRBO Conservation Science, an environmental research group, conducts annual surveys of whales and other marine life in the sanctuaries around San Francisco Bay. Research director Jaime Jahncke said the number of blue and others whales is four to five times greater than in 2004, increasing the likelihood of ship strikes.
These surveys and other data were used to help map the new shipping lanes by showing vessel owners and federal officials where the whale grounds and shipping lanes were overlapping.
There currently are three shipping lanes coming in and out of San Francisco Bay.
The westbound shipping lane currently ends at the relatively shallow continental shelf, where ships disperse. The new westbound lane would extend three miles past the continental shelf, and contain traffic to a defined area over the whale feeding grounds. The new northbound lane would also be extended miles beyond the shelf, keeping vessels sailing in a straight line for a longer time, rather than allowing them to disperse where the whales congregate.
Whale mapping data: http://www.accessoceans.org
Reporter Jason Dearen can be reached on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/JHDearen
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