Stop the Ship Strikes on Blue Whales

Dear Supporters of the GWC campaign to protect Blue Whales in the North Pacific from ship strikes,

The following petition/letter has been drafted by the Great Whale Conservancy.  Please read this letter, sign your name and contact information and submit the letter by clicking the SUBMIT button, or draft your own letter and send it to the names and email addresses listed below for the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This petition/letter is being circulated to millions of people in the United States and around the world.  Please encourage everyone you know to sign the GWC petition/letter or write their own letter in support of the Blue Whales by posting it on your websites, facebook pages, and sharing it through your own email address books.  Our goal is to have 100,000 letters reach the Obama Administration by Earth Day, (April 22nd) 2013.

For more information on this ongoing tragedy of ship strikes on Blue Whales go to the campaign page on our website.  And thanks for signing the petition below .

View the new GWC ship strike video.

If the whales could talk, they would thank you.

Gershon and Michael, co-Directors of the Great Whale Conservancy

 

The letter will be sent to the following individuals:

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan
Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
kathryn.sullivan@noaa.gov

Christy Goldfuss, Chair
White House Council on Environmental Quality 
chair@ceq.eop.gov

Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft
United States Coast Guard
paul.zukunft@uscg.mil

Raymond Mabus Jr.
Secretary of the Navy
r.mabus@navy.mil

Beth Kertulla
director, National Oceans Council
ekerttula@ostp.eop.gov

Re:  Establishment of Commercial Shipping Lanes Through the Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station Waters

To:  Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Christy Goldfuss, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality, Commandant; Admiral Paul Zukunft, United States Coast Guard; Raymond Mabus Jr., Secretary of the Navy; Beth Kerttula, Director, National Oceans Council

I am writing to ask the Obama administration to act now to protect endangered blue whale populations from ship strikes occurring every year along the California coast.  From July through October, the world’s largest subpopulation of blue whales (~ 2,000 individuals known as the Eastern North Pacific group (ENP)) migrates to productive areas along the continental shelf edge offshore of California to feed on massive blooms of krill.  Unfortunately for the blue whales, a feeding area inside the Santa Barbara Channel overlaps with one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes leading to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise ships transit directly over this critical feeding habitat as they move millions of tons of people and goods along the California coast and between Asia and the United States. 

The Coast Guard acknowledged the advantages of having an alternate shipping approach to LA/Long Beach, a.k.a. the “southern route” in a Port Access Route Study in September 2011.  The southern route would allow ships to circumvent the waters inside the Northern Channel Islands, increasing safety for the ships by reducing traffic density while at the same time protecting the ENP blue whales from being rammed by the giant ships or cut to ribbons by their massive propellers.  Although a number of commercial vessels have already been transiting the southern route in recent years to avoid paying the higher fuel costs required for near-shore transits, the U.S. Navy has objected to the use of the southern route by commercial ships because of their interest in having unfettered access to those waters for naval exercises. 

The U.S. government must act to protect endangered blue whales from the threat of extinction.  During the last century, blue whale numbers were reduced by commercial whalers from ~350,000 animals to the ~10,000 alive today.  Despite an international moratorium on the hunting of blue whales in effect since 1966, their numbers have failed to rebound, largely due to ship strikes with commercial vessels.  Further losses and reduction in the genetic diversity of the species could be disastrous. 

We must act to ensure ships can choose to circumvent the Santa Barbara Shipping Channel and avoid this critical blue whale feeding habitat.  The administration must relax its opposition to the use of the easternmost Pt. Mugu Naval Air Station waters to commercial shipping traffic for the months of July-October.  I respectfully request that you, in your capacity within the Obama administration, publicly support this proposal and encourage President Obama to help protect the ENP blue whales for this and future generations.

Sincerely,

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