A recently published study has suggested that an increasing number of ships have been colliding with blue whales while along their standard routes.
Appearing in the journal PLOS One earlier this week, this study looked at the effect of shipping traffic in the northern Pacific Ocean Here, the overlap of shipping routes and whale migration could impact endangered wildlife and the boat insurance required by these ships.
The data comes in part from satellite tags that were placed on more than 170 different blue whales. Although the authors of the study admit that the data set is limited to the west coast of the US and may be excluding whale activity further north, it did uncover a trend in the way that the whales monitored move during the autumn months.
The authors of the study wrote that they hoped their findings, which showed that shipping areas off of the northern coast of California overlap with regions of moderate-to-high whale traffic, will lead to better practices and safer routes.
One of these authors, Ladd Irvine, was quoted in a piece for Fox News describing the impact of these collisions on boat insurance.
"When ships hit whales, the shipping companies' insurance companies require them to have their ships inspected for damage before they go across the ocean," Irvine said. "There are limited facilities to do that, and ships have to sit for a long time and miss out on income while they get inspected."
He also calls a strategy that would reduce the amount of collisions seen "a win win," even though it would cost companies money and take them out of their way, since it would improve the whale population and the safety of the crafts.