Bonus of $2,500 per trip to be paid to California cargo ships to slow their speed for whales
To keep a check on the collision between vessels and whales, every ship passing through the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of Southern California will be paid a bonus of $2,500 per trip to slow down its speed to 12 knots from more typical speeds of 14 to 18 knots.
This move started back in July under a four-month pilot program in the season when whale population in the channel peaks. Along with environmental groups participating actively in this drive, federal and local officials are also providing their support in all manners.
This whole program is backed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and the non-profit Environmental Defense Center.
Other than the aim of avoiding vessel whale collusion that led to a fin whale's death last week at harbor city of Port Hueneme, the program also serves the purpose of reducing combat exhaust emissions from the ships, which helps in reduction of half of the ozone pollution in Santa Barbara County.
NOAA policy analyst Sean Hastings said, "The estimated population of blue whales in this part of the Pacific is 2,500, so every whale counts toward this population moving off the endangered species list".
A grant from the non-profit Santa Barbara Foundation has provided enough money to reward 16 slower trips. Though $2,500 bonuses will not be enough to fully cover the lost time to shippers who slow down, still there are high hopes that the incentive will still work as nobody wants to deliberately hit these fabulous animals.
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