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Ships Offered Incentive To Slow For Whales

An environmental partnership is rolling out an incentive program to save whales and air quality.

Sean Hastings, with NOAA Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, said air pollution control districts and other groups are raising money to pay ships $2,500 per transit to slow down in local shipping lanes.

For years whales have been struck and killed by ships off Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Hastings said a ship unknowingly dragged a dead whale carcass into the Port of Hueneme in July.

Shipping leaders attended a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara to talk about the unregulated pilot program.

They said their cooperation isn’t really about the money. They said more money is at stake if ships don’t arrive at docks during appointed times.

Hastings said the plan does not add government regulations. He hopes crews accepting financial incentives will also be willing to report whales sightings as well as unintentional whale strikes.

Air pollution control boards have contributed money in an effort to improve air quality impacted by international ships offshore.

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