For Immediate Release, June 8, 2021

Contact: Todd Steiner, Executive Director,

‘A Wake for the Whales’ Marks Bay Area Deaths, Calls for New Protections

SAN FRANCISCO—Turtle Island Restoration Network joined conservation groups and whale lovers today — which is World Oceans Day — at Crissy Field Beach in San Francisco to honor the 12 dead whales that have washed up in the Bay Area so far this year and call for greater protections. Attendees took actions calling for specific solutions to the three top threats to whales: ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear and climate change.

Against the backdrop of the Golden Gate, through which container ships and fishing boats pass regularly, speakers at the event called for a mandatory 10-knot speed limits for ships passing through whale habitat along California’s coast and the conversion of California’s trap fisheries to new ropeless gear to prevent deadly entanglements.

They also called for strong national action to address climate change, which can cause malnutrition as whales’ food sources are decreased or moved, sometimes bringing whales into areas where they’re more likely to be entangled or hit by ships.

Attendees at today’s event sent messages to key members of Congress demanding climate action and greater protection of whales from speeding ships. They also sent messages to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state wildlife officials asking for more support in certifying ropeless fishing gear and encouraging its use.

Blue, fin, humpback, gray and other whales migrate along the West Coast, where they are most directly threatened by vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Eleven dead whales have washed up around the Bay Area since early April, and at least four died from ship strikes. Two dead whales were also found on the hull of a military ship in San Diego last month.

Speakers and supporters at the event were from the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Pacific Environment, Earth Island Institute, Climate Action Now, Environment California, Ocean Conservation Research, International Marine Mammal Project, Oceanic Preservation Society, Sierra Club, NRDC, and Shark Stewards.

Images are available for media use.