Conservation groups call for rerouting sea lanes for whale conservation

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Feb 08, 2022, 01:22 PM(IST)

For conservation of whales, several groups have called for rerouting sea lanes (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

What puts this whale population in danger is that its habitat falls in the way of one of world's busiest shipping routes. This part of the sea connects Southeast Asia to Suez Canal. Because of this, this part of the sea sees daily traffic of about 200 huge ships, each about 300 metres across. Whales risk collisions with these ships

Human activities impact the world in more ways than we know. We build roads through forests, build dams that submerge large tracts of land previously over the water-level and many more things. Fortunately, efforts have been on to recognise such threats and then petition governments to take preventive or curative petition.

Such efforts have again been visible in case of blue whale conservation in Indian Ocean off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. 

Since 2008, researchers have discovered a population of blue whale, an endangered species, in Indian Ocean off southern Sri Lanka. What's special about population of these whales is that unlike other whales who travel vast distances in oceans during a year, this whale population lives roughly in the same area of the ocean. They thrive on shrimps.

What puts this whale population in danger is that its habitat falls in the way of one of world's busiest shipping routes. This part of the sea connects Southeast Asia to Suez Canal. Because of this, this part of the sea sees daily traffic of about 200 huge ships, each about 300 metres across. Whales risk collisions with these ships and noise pollution due to shipping traffic interferes with whales's communication through vacalisations.

Conservation groups are calling on Sri Lanka government to propose shifting of sea lanes 15 nautical miles to the south. Such a request by Sri Lanka to global authorities may help in conservation of these whales.

“Studies indicate that if a shipping lane were to be established 15 nautical miles to the south of the current lane, the risk of collisions with blue whales would be reduced by 95%,” reads the letter from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Great Whale Conservancy and OceanCare. The content from the letter was quoted by The Guardian.

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