Re-Routing Ships to Avoid Collisions with Blue Whales

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are becoming more and more “crowded”, as they are not only swimming channels for blue whales, but they are also crossing points for more and more ships. For blue whales migrating off the coast of Long Beach, traffic from this port gets in their way and can pose a great threat. This is because the growing number of ships means potential collisions and injuries to the endangered whales.


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This also led authorities to re-route ships across the west coast around feeding areas and migration routes, staring this June. Hopefully, this preventative measure will help prevent these massive creatures from getting injured.

As more and more ships pass through this bustling port complex, fin whales and humpbacks are being killed or severely hurt by collisions with barges and boats. These run-ins happen especially during the whale migration season in Southern California, meaning from late December to mid May.

There are about 200 blue whales (which represent 10% of the entire Pacific Ocean population) passing through Catalina Island and the mainland every year on their way to the Santa Barbara Channel, where they feed on krill before migrating to summer feeding grounds farther north.

Even though whale deaths are not an annual occurrence, such cases have been reported in previous years, as current shipping lanes go directly over their feeding grounds. In 2007, for instance, it was reported that an unprecedented 5 blue whales were struck and killed in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Fortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has joined forces with the Coast Guard starting this year and came up with the plan that is expected to take effect that will significantly reduce (if not eliminate) these numbers. Ships such as ocean-going cargo vessels, automobile carriers and tugboats near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will be slightly re-routed in order to avoid collisions with blue whales.


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Ships will also be re-routed in the San Francisco Bay and the Channel Islands, which will create a one-mile buffer between the ships and the migration routes of the massive sea creatures. Even though these changes will not reduce all risks concerning blue whales, they will surely drop them in a drastic way.

The US Coast Guard acknowledged the need to move shipping lanes in order to protect whales ever since 2011, but the US Navy objected to the shift. However, the changes were adopted by the International Maritime Organization back in November.

According to Dick McKenna of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, “though approved this past year, there is a comment period that is now required”. He added that “this will be conducted by the Coast Guard shortly, and unofficially there appears to be no opposition to the move. However, things don’t go into effect until the process is officially completed”.

The changes are expected to be implemented and the end of this June. These include reducing the space between the north and southbound pathways from 2 miles to 1 mile and moving the northbound lane 1 mile closer to the mainland. The new shipping lanes are expected to reduce the risk of collisions between ships and the migrating blue whales, which do not need any more threats, as they are already endangered species.

Interesting Facts About Blue Whales

Blue whales are the largest animals that exist on Earth today. Blue whales are very big, but their impressive size and the fact that they are extremely rare makes this species a little known one. Below you can find a series of interesting facts about blue whales. By knowing all these facts you will better understand the species.


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  • Blue whales have the ability to grow up to 100 feet. This makes them larger than a NBA basketball court.
  • Blue whales can weight up to 200 tons.
  • The tongue of a blue whale weights as much as an elephant. This means that about 100 people can fit only in a blue whale’s mouth.
  • The heart of a blue whale weights around 2000 pounds.
  • Blue whales can produce sounds that are louder than a jet engine. This means that they can communicate from distances of more than 1,000 miles away.
  • A blue whale is capable of eating more than 4 tones of krill per day.
  • An adult blue whale can keep 45,999 liters of water in its mouth.
  • A baby blue whale can drink more than 590 liters of milk each day. It can add around 90 kg of its weight each day.
  • A female can only give birth to a baby blue whale at every two to three years.
  • Blue whales do not swallow water. They actually use their baleen plates to filter it. This way they extract krill and copepods, which are part of their daily menu.
  • Despite their large and quite impressive size, blue whales are capable or reaching speeds of no less than 35 km per hour.
  • Blue whales are extremely rare nowadays. Unfortunately, they have become victims of excessive hunting, which led to extension.
  • Blue whales are not very easy to kill. They are extremely large, so capturing such an animal can be really hard.
  • Blue whales can be found in all oceans. However, the largest population of whales is believed to live in Southern Hemisphere, in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic Ocean.


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Blue whales are extremely interesting animals. They are considered to be the largest animals that have ever lived on Earth. The blue whale also is the loudest animal on earth. They have few predators, but they can become victims of attacks by sharks and naturally other whale killers.

Threats Over Blue Whales

Blue whales are the largest known animals, which makes them unique species and very attracting subjects. Throughout the years, blue whales have been studied in various forms, in order to determine relevant aspects about their existence, lifestyle and habits. In addition to all the general information that has been found in these researches on the blue whales, scientists came to the conclusion that the species is endangered. There are multiple reasons which indicated the fact that the blue whales should be included in the endangered animals category and which should be considered by all people involved in order to reduce the negative effects. Endangerment is caused by multiple factors, some related to human practices, while other to the animal world. 

In the human actions that can reduce the number of blue whales category, we can include pollution first. This is a factor that affects the lives of all living organisms in general and therefore that of the blue whales as well. Through the chemicals and toxins that are eliminated into the waters, the natural habitat of these species is greatly altered, leading to numerous issues and health problems. The sonars used in the underwater vehicles projected by humans can also affect the life of these animals. The sounds released by the sonars intervene between the sounds made by the blue whales, which stops them from communicating between each other in the proper way. At a larger scale, global warming can lead to the diminishing of the exemplar numbers, through the change produced in the water temperature. The animals will not find their usual migration spots, nor the food they used to have there. 

On the other hand, the blue whales are also threatened by elements of the animal world. Even through they are very large, they can be harmed by killer whales or by entering a collision with an underwater object. Death through these instances is not immediate, but the usual wounds created can be very damaging to their health and lead to this process after all. Conservation methods of the blue whales are to be applied to prevent from losing these amazing species.

Blue Whales Size Facts

Blue whales are some of the most fascinating creatures inhabiting the Earth. This is because blue whales are the largest animals to have ever lived on this planet, larger than even the largest dinosaur known to the humankind. These mammals are huge and they are really impressive regarding their size. So here are some blue whales size facts, for you to see for yourself how incredible these animals are. The record for largest blue whale ever is held by a 110 feet long female, which weighed 209 tons.

Besides this record, the average length of male blue whales is of 82 feet, and of female blue whales is of 85 feet. When they are born, baby blue whales are about 19 1/2 feet long. Regarding the weight of blue whales, the statistics are also impressive. An adult can weigh up to 120 tons in average, while a newborn weighs about 2.5-4 tons. Newborn blue whales drink about 50-150 gallons of milk a day, meaning that they put on about 8 pounds per hours, which sums up in 200 pounds a day. When they are 8 months old and the calf is weened, blue whales measure about 50 feet long and weigh approximately 50,000 pounds. As blue whales can grow up to 100 feet, imagine two city buses parked end to end or an NBA basketball court. blue whales are still bigger.

Blue whales have actually been compared in size to the Boeing Jet, that’s how big they are. They weigh about 15 school buses or 8 DC-9 aircrafts. Imagine that an elephant weighs as much as their tongue alone, which can support 50 people. The mouth of blue whales can fit up to 100 people. And their heart is as big as a VW Beetle or a Mini Cooper, at about 2,000 pounds. This is why the heartbeat of blue whales can be detected from two miles away. Us humans can even crawl with no difficulty through their major arteries. Blue whales are about 25 feet wide, which is the equivalent of a professional soccer net. As you can see, these amazing size facts are proof that blue whales are simply spectacular.

Blue Whales Eating Habits

Blue whales surely are the most interesting creatures on Earth. They are the largest animals existent and their huge weights can really impress. In fact, blue whales are not only the largest animals known today, but they also are the largest ones that have ever existed on the face of Earth. Due to their huge dimensions, blue whales can only live in oceans and they tend to swim in groups. Well, despite the fact that they grow up to impressive weight, blue whales are some of the fasted swimmers from all aquatic animals, this aspect being quite curious if we keep in mind how big they are. Mostly, blue whales are going to swim in groups.

Blue whales can have up to 100 feet (30 meters) and they can weigh up to 200 tones. In fact, a very interesting thing about blue whales is that only their tongue has such an impressive weight, that is can equal the one of an elephant. A blue whale will most likely eat about 4 tones of foods a day. Blue whales feeding habits include krill and plankton. In fact, the krill, a type of ocean creature, is the most preferred meal of blue whales. And since these mammals like krill so much, they can eat up to 10 tones of krill a day. Specialists say that the stomach of blue whales can hold more than 1,000 kg of foods. The way blue whales feed themselves is also really interesting. So, you should know that blue whales are actually able to eat with the help of ocean water, as they swallow the foods along with the water.

In their normal eating habits, blue whales need more than 3 million calories a day. To catch the prey, blue whales are going to swim very close to the surface of the water. Anyway, you should keep in mind that these are only the general facts about the eating habits of a blue whale. Most likely, they are going to include variations depending on the area in which blue whales live and the availability of feeding options there.