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Blue whales killed by ship strikes topic of free lecture tonight in San Pedro

January 27, 2009 | 10:15 am

A crew prepares to tow the carcass of a blue whale.

Whale hunts — a popular topic on Outposts — do not occur in Southern California waters, but fatal whale strikes by large ships do occur sporadically.

At least four endangered blue whales were killed in the fall of 2007 in or near the Santa Barbara Channel, where krill, their primary food source, was abundant. Necropsies were performed on three of them.

Michelle Berman and Paul Collins of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History will share their findings tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro.

The discussion is part of the American Cetacean Society/Los Angeles Chapter's monthly lecture series and is free to the public.

The issue is troubling because blue whales remain critically endangered. The estimated 2,000 blue whales that utilize California and Baja California waters is the largest and healthiest sub-population.

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive in San Pedro. ACS/LA invites attendees to meet the speakers beforehand at Puesta Del Sol restaurant at 6 p.m. The restaurant is at 1622 S. Gaffey St. (at 17th St.) in San Pedro.

— Pete Thomas

Photo: A crew prepares to tow the carcass of a blue whale. Credit: Stephen Osman/Los Angeles Times