It has often been the case throughout history that humans, and their needs and wants, have been viewed as more important than those of the other species inhabiting our planet. However, Sri Lanka has made an important step in reversing this viewpoint.

In an unusual step, both the Sri Lankan shipping companies and conservationists have formed an unlikely alliance to do something about the depleting numbers of the worlds largest mammal, the Blue Whale.

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Both parties have agreed that the shipping lanes in the countries waters should be moved in order to accommodate the Blue Whale's feeding routines.

Previously shipping freighters and Blue Whales had been colliding due to overlapping paths, which in turn had a serious knock-on effect on the mammal's health and wellbeing. However, this new initiative will see the whole shipping lane move 28 kilometres across the ocean to try and reduce these collisions.

Sri Lanka government yet to sign off the deal

Despite both the conservationists and shipping companies agreeing on this proposed change, the Sri Lankan government are holding up the move.

The country has declined to sign off the deal up to this point, putting the conservation of Blue Whales in jeopardy once again.

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Shipping executives have already stated that they would be willing to move as they can see the benefits of moving to waters which are not already overcrowded with fishing vessels, tourist boats and the largest mammal to have ever lived on earth. The World Shipping Council have also given their backing to the move by stating that its one of the few cases in the world where it is possible to separate ships from marine life and its natural habitat.

It was a huge undertaking to get the majority of all the world's largest shipping companies to agree to move the shipping lane and as such, it would be hugely disappointing if Sri Lanka decides not to sign off on the deal.

A final decision to be made this month

A final decision on whether or not the shipping lane will be moved will be made in March, whereby Sri Lanka must submit a proposal for the shipping lane move to the UN International Maritime Organisation.

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Talks have been ongoing between all the various parties over the last six years, however, the Sri Lankan government are still yet to submit the proposal.

One reason for Sri Lanka being reluctant to sign off on the deal is that it believes there will be a knock on economic impact for the country, whereby ships may not be as inclined to stop in Sri Lanka. It is also thought that the political turmoil in the country is holding up proceedings.

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