Federal maritime officials have approved a plan to protect whales in and around San Francisco Bay. The plan is a result of an increase in accidents involving whales and cargo ships. Migrating blue, fin and humpback whales have been lured close to California’s shore by plentiful krill, the shrimp-like organisms they eat. They then come in contact with the propellers of large cargo ships that can sever their spine and ribs.
The changes, crafted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shipping industry representatives, whale researchers and the Coast Guard, include rerouting shipping traffic and establishing better ways to track whale locations. They are expected to take effect next year, after a final review by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.