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Spain creates exclusion zone off Galicia to avoid orcas

by Daria Blackwell 26 Sep 09:42 BST
Exclusion zone off Spain © Daria Blackwell

Notice to Mariners Sailing the Cantabrian Coast of Spain - Unofficial: Yachts are advised to avoid an area of the Northwest coast of Spain where orcas have been interacting with transiting yachts.

The Spanish General Directorate of the Merchant Marine has issued a resolution limiting navigation in the most critical areas to protect both sailors and the orcas themselves, from the last Wednesday. And so it was that this Tuesday afternoon the Office has confirmed that as of tonight and for a week the navigation of sailing boats of length equal to or less than 50 ft is limited in the adjacent maritime space between Cabo Prioriño Grande and Punta de Estaca de Bares both are located in Galicia.

"This is a measure whose purpose is to prevent new encounters with the killer whales that, in recent weeks, have starred in several incidents in the coastal area of Galicia in which sailing vessels have been involved" It also clarifies that the sailing vessels affected by the resolution will be able to navigate perpendicular to the delimited area to access the coastal zone or leave it towards the sea. As explained by the office, interactions with cetaceans have affected, above all, medium-sized sailboats, between 2 and 8 nautical miles from the coast and the navigation speed oscillated between 5 and 9 knots, either exclusively at sail or sail and motor. More in Spanish.

Noonsite reports that 29 incidents have been reported between orcas and sailing vessels. One report indicates that the whales stopped attacking a British boat when it stopped in the water. Pods of orcas have been reported to frequent the coast of Portugal and the Straits of Gibraltar as well. Precaution should be taken when transiting the area.

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This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.