Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the larger Santa
Barbara Channel region hosts an abundance of blue, humpback, fin
and other large migratory whales. This area also supports some
of the busiest vessel traffic in the United States. Unfortunately,
where vessels and whales overlap there is a heightened risk of
ship strike that can cause serious injuries or death to whales.
In 2007, four blue whale fatalities in the Santa Barbara Channel
region were confirmed to be caused by ship strike. Reducing the
risk of ship strike to these endangered whales is a priority issue
for CINMS and NOAA Fisheries.
In this section, you will find information on our efforts to manage,
monitor, research, educate and keep the local community involved,
and to protect large whales when they are in the Sanctuary and
Santa Barbara Channel Region.
Santa Barbara Channel Traffic Separation Scheme Amendment
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is amending the Santa Barbara Channel Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and the approach to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, effective June 1, 2013. The TSS amendment will reduce the width of the separation zone from 2 nautical miles (nm) to 1 nm by shifting the inbound south lane shoreward and away from known whale concentrations. The outbound north lane will remain unchanged in the current location. Narrowing the separation zone is expected to reduce co-occurrence of ships and whales while maintaining navigation safety.
For the official USCG Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) please click here. For the IMO approved coordinates and graphics depicting the TSS amendments go to the enclosures section.
|NOAA chart showing the Santa Barbara Channel Traffic Separation Scheme adjustments. Click on the map for a larger view.|
2013 WHALE ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT
Southern California - Whales - Point Arguello to Dana Point
Vessels transiting the area between Point Arguello and Dana Point, including the Traffic Separation Schemes in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Pedro Channel, from May through November, should exercise caution and reduce speed. These areas contain populations of endangered blue, humpback and fin whales. Collisions with these animals resulting in their injury or death is a violation of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1538 et seq.), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.).
Additional information can be found here.
Please report any collisions with whales or any observed injured or dead whales to NOAA at 877-SOS-WHALe (877-767-9425)
Podcast: Updates on Shipping and Whales
Learn about West Coast ship strikes to whales and what national marine sanctuaries are doing to help solve this problem. Find out how a new whale spotter app is engaging mariners to help. Listen to the Reducing the Threat of Ship Strikes to Whales podcast produced by Thank You Ocean.
NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
University of California Santa Barbara
Ocean Science Education Building 514, MC 6155
Santa Barbara, CA, 93106-6155