Using the power of models to protect whales from possible ship-strikes

Written by Dr. Anna Nisi

We have been building cutting-edge models of species distributions for four great whale species – blue, fin, sperm, and humpback whales. One key threat to the great whales is collisions with shipping vessels, and identifying places where ship-strike risk is high is essential for informing mitigation actions like vessel slow-downs. Our next step is to overlay whale distributions with maps of global shipping traffic, to prioritize these areas for conservation action and help protect these vulnerable species. The results of our work will inform expanding vessel slow-down programs to encompass larger areas and reduce whale deaths.

This work is in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies.

Three map models combining whale distributions and shipping 
traffic data to identify ship-strike hotspots
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