About 80 whales die each year from collisions with ships along the California coast, but a new “mapping and analysis tool” called Whale Safe believes they can be eliminated once and for all. I’m here.
Whales appear earlier in the Gulf and Pacific coast, closer to shore than ever before. While this pleases whale watchers, it is likely the depressing effects of climate change, and perhaps because their delicious prey is also closer to shore. A whale advocacy group called WhaleSafe said, “2018, 2019 and 2021 were the worst years ever recorded for whale-ship collisions off the west coast of the United States.”
An organization called Whale Safe is just beginning to apply whale tracking to the San Francisco Bay and Pacific coast. (As we saw above, the presence of whales in San Francisco today is “extremely high.”) The New York Times also reported that Whale Safe’s attempts to use technology to prevent ship collisions and Mark He has a new article about a generous donation from Benioff.
As The Times explains, “Whale Safe uses three data streams.” “The buoy uses algorithms to listen to and identify the calls of blue, fin and humpback whales and transmit the results to satellites. Mathematical models based on current and historical oceanographic and biological data It predicts where blue whales are most likely to be found, with citizen scientists and trained observers reporting whale sightings through the app’s Whale Alerts.”
“The near real-time aspect of Whale Safe’s alerts and being able to know where the whales are 24 hours a day is very unique and gives us more information to share with ships coming in and out of the bay. We will,” Maria Brown, Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, told The Times.
Whale Safe has primarily operated only in the Santa Barbara area and has clearly been very effective in its objectives. “In 2021, WhaleSafe will conduct its first year-round operation in the Santa Barbara Channel, but no whale-ship interactions have been documented in the region,” The Times notes. I hope they have the same success now that they are here in San Francisco.
Related: Whales are making pit stops in the bay again on their migration north [SFist]
Image: Paramount Pictures