Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Whale Residential Speed Limit Zones?

Shipping groups fight speed limits to save whales

Jeff Nesmith - Cox Washington Bureau
Monday, July 25, 2005

The following is taken from the article linked above:

Marine biologists warned in an article last week in the journal Science that the right whale appears headed for extinction unless emergency steps are taken to reduce the likelihood of the creatures being run down by ships.

They said that under the rule-making process which NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service has chosen, establishing speed limits along southern shipping lanes in the winter and northern lanes in the summer "could take several years."

But it probably will be several years before technology appears that will make it possible to stop the collisions, said Edwin Fendig Jr., a senior bar pilot on Brunswick.

Fendig, writing for the Brunswick Bar Pilots' Association, said the measures proposed by the fisheries service probably wouldn't work.

"Without the whale being able to know the ship's intentions nor the ship knowing the whales' intentions, it is highly unlikely that any traffic separation schemes on this part of the coast will protect the whales," Fendig said.

"If there was some scientific validity to the proposed rule-making, the whales' intentions would still be unknown and again the whale would be unprotected."

I would like to comment very briefly on what Edwin Fendig Jr. had to say in the above quote.

Following his line of reasoning, it would seem that having lower speed limits on neighborhood streets is of little use because the young children who might run unexpectedly into the street don't necessarily know the automobile driver's intentions and the automobile driver definitely does not know the intentions of the young child who runs out in front of them; therefore it would be highly unlikely that any traffic separation schemes on these streets would protect the children. Does that make any sense at all? Of course it doesn't.