BARCELONA—Spain has temporarily prohibited yachting across 100 kilometers (62 miles) of its northwestern coast after orca whales apparently got carried away while playing and damaged several sailboats.
Spains transport ministry issued the week-long prohibition for sailboats under 15 meters (49 feet) long starting Tuesday. It said the area covered by the ban meant to protect both boats and maritime mammals and could be extended to “follow the migration routes” of the whales.
Boats can leave port to go into the open sea between the capes of the Prioriño Grande and la Punta de Estaca de Bares, but they must not remain near the coast off the countrys northwestern tip.
The ministry said the first reported incident occurred Aug. 19. Since then, it said an unspecified number of sailboats have been damaged by orcas, with some needing assistance from Spains maritime rescue service after their rudders were wrecked.
Biologist Bruno Díaz of the local Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute said the orcas were most likely just playing a bit too rough.
He said orcas, like other cetaceans such as dolphins, like to swim alongside boats. Running into hulls is rare, but he believed it was likely done by “immature teenage” orcas getting rowdy.
“We will never be in the mind of that individual animal, but based on experience, we think that there is absolutely nothing (threatening about their behavior). We are not their natural prey,” Díaz told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday. “They are having fun. And maybe these orcas have fun causing damage.”
Orcas are particularly attracted by sail boats dRead More – Source