Whales & Ships
Every year thousands of large ocean-going vessels transit through the Santa Barbara Channel and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The internationally designated ship traffic lanes cross over historically rich whale feeding areas and migration routes. Ship strikes of blue, fin, and humpback whales threaten the recovery of these endangered species.
Vessel speed reduction of large ships reduces the risk of fatal ship strikes on endangered whales in the Santa Barbara Channel. Photo: Adam Ernster/Condor Express
Whales that become entangled in marine debris may experience starvation, physical trauma, systemic infections, drowning or increased susceptibility to other threats, such as ship strikes.