COA Ship-Strikes Initiative

Preventing Whale Deaths during Maritime Transport


Ship strikes of large whales have been a growing concern off the California coast.  Not only is mortality from collisions one of the main human causes of death for large whales, but recent research shows ship-strikes could threaten population growth and recovery of blue, humpback, and fin whales.  One emerging key aspect of this issue is related to the routes ships take along the coast, especially as they pass through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS).


Past efforts and attention have focused on designated shipping lanes coming and going from the major ports of LA/Long Beach and San Francisco Bay—areas where shipping traffic is most concentrated.  And though there has been some success in shifting these lanes to try to avoid areas of whale concentration, several lines of new evidence show that only a minority of ship strikes occur in shipping lanes and near ports.


In 2019 COA is launching a multi-pronged ship-strike initiative to significantly increase research, monitoring, and conservation efforts around ship-strikes of whales outside the established shipping lanes in California.



COA has assembled several world-leading research and conservation professionals that will lead this initiative Including John Calambokidis, Ari Friedlander, Brandon Southall, and Robert Mazurek.