Expected October 2022
Humans are using the oceans more and more as highways to ship goods across the world. A 2014 study found that global ship traffic had increased four-fold in only two decades. As the oceans become increasingly laden with large ships travelling at a high speed, whales are increasingly at risk of being hit and killed by this traffic. A recent study in Canada found that along with entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships is the number one cause of non-natural death in large whales.
The IWC has recognized that reducing the spatial overlap of both high numbers of cetaceans and high numbers of vessels is likely to remain the best means of reducing ship strikes. However, multiple solutions exist in different locations around the world.
We identify overlapping marine areas where high density of whales (feeding or nursing grounds) meets high density of boats, is where most accidents happen, and where solutions could be the most effective.
To evaluate the current dramatic situation Ocean Souls talked to the best scientists, experts, conservationists, NGOs and agencies around the world, heard of the challenging but also the successful stories. Unfortunately for the whales and marine ecosystems as a whole, technology is not evolving as fast as expected, thermal camera are due for some real modifications and improvements, and acoustic buoys are helping but are yet to be perfect. Despite the complexities, there is hope, and with just willingness, we could be saving thousands of endangered whales a year.
“For every whale confirmed to have died as a result of a ship collision there are dozens more killed by strikes that go undocumented with the ship unaware and the carcass sinking or not coming ashore. “
John Calambokidis, Research Biologist, and founder Cascadia Research
“I can’t possibly imagine that my colleagues on the shipping industry would not be willing to help, we are part of the problem, clearly we want to be part of the the solution"
Michael Barbaix - Supertanker Captain