Event: A press conference will be hosted by the Great Whale Conservancy (GWC) at noon (EDT) on Earth Day (April 22nd, 2013), in Freedom Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC 20004 (nearest Metro: Federal Triangle). The public is welcome!
Purpose: To call for action against the unnecessary killing of blue whales from ship strikes in waters offshore of Southern California.
- David E. Guggenheim Ph.D., President, Ocean Doctor (Washington, DC)
- John Calambokidis, Director of the Cascadia Research Group (Seattle, WA; invited)
- Gershon Cohen Ph.D., co-Director of the Great Whale Conservancy (Anchorage, Alaska)
- Michael Fishbach, co-Director of the Great Whale Conservancy (Anchorage, Alaska; Saving Valentina)
Also in attendance will be Mz Blue, the GWC’s life-sized 90-foot blue whale inflatable (see photo below.)
Background: The shipping lane between San Francisco and Los Angeles is one of the busiest in the world, moving people and goods from Asia between U.S. ports on the west coast. Unfortunately, the shipping lane cuts right through critical blue whale feeding habitat. Every year, blue whales are killed by propeller cuts and direct collisions from cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise ships. An alternative shipping route exists ~15 miles to the southwest, which the scientific community believes would eliminate 80-90% of the ship strikes. This unofficial route passes through a U.S. Navy exercise area and is supposed to be off limits to commercial traffic. However, ships have, and continue to transit those waters without direct objection by the U.S. Navy. Nevertheless, many ships will still not use the unofficial route for fear of expulsion.
GWC will be delivering a request from the many of the world’s largest whale conservation organizations along with the signatures of ~100,000 citizens to the Obama Administration asking the President to direct the Navy to approve an alternate transit lane for the months of July through October when the blue whale population in the area reaches its highest concentration.
For more information please contact:
Gershon Cohen PhD, co-Director
Great Whale Conservancy