3 Jun 2013

New lanes give way to whales

7:03 pm on 3 June 2013

New shipping lanes have been opened along the west coast of the United States specifically designed to protect whales.

The move comes after a record number of the endangered mammals were killed in collisions with ships.

Experts say California is one of the most dangerous areas in the world for whales. Nearly a dozen of the marine mammals have died in recent years after being hit by cargo ships off the coast, Radio New Zealand's correspondent reports.

The shipping lanes that guide these vessels into the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles port have been adjusted.

The narrower, extended routes take ships away from whale feeding and migration areas. Blue, fin and humpback whales are drawn to Californian waters by plentiful supplies of krill.

All of them are endangered species and it's hoped the new lanes will protect them, whilst keeping commerce flowing.