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Letters: Slow the ships, save the whales

December 09, 2012

Re "Malibu's great blight whale," Dec. 7

Once again we're reminded of the dangers that large whales face along the West Coast. Whales are forced to dodge ships traveling into port. Many don't make it. Ship strikes are one of the biggest remaining threats to the recovery of whales, and in the last decade they have become all too common.

Our busy shipping lanes on the West Coast overlap with important foraging habitat for whales. The federal government, charged with protecting endangered species, needs to impose mandatory speed limits on vessels in whale habitats.

Slowing down ships is a great way to prevent ship strikes of whales, and to reduce air pollution.

Miyoko Sakashita

San Francisco

The writer is oceans director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Referring to the dead whale at Malibu, Jeff Hall, marine mammal coordinator with the California Wildlife Center, said, "There isn't really a protocol for this."

Maybe not, but there is a precedent for ridding a beach of a dead whale, specifically on the Oregon coast in 1970. The Oregon Highway Division decided to blow up the whale, scattering blubber for hundreds of feet.

Oregonians have laughed about this for years. I hope Malibu figures out a better solution.

Gary Roy

Palm Springs

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