The research was published in Diversity and Distributions by Dr. Briana Abrahms, research ecologist at NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center, relating the movements of more than 100 tagged blue whales to daily oceanographic conditions, according to phys.org.
Dr. Abrahms and her colleagues are now developing an app that will allow managers and ship crews to predict the location of blue whales as they transit along the West Coast.
The app will also be accessible to the public and to managers making recommendation on vessel slow-downs or the use of alternative shipping lanes.
The more we learn about how the physical ocean affects whales and other marine life, the better we are able to predict where those species will be. The goal is to put this technology into the hands of managers, the shipping industry and other users who can most use it to help protect these animals from ship strikes and other human threats,
...Dr. Abrahms said.
Collisions between blue whales and ships are considered one of the key causes that these marine mammals are threatened with extinction.
Currently, hardly 1,500 blue whales are estimated to spend time in the waters off the US West Coast.
Port of Vancouver is a pioneer in whales’ protection. The Port has created the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program, which aims to limit the impact of shipping activities on endangered whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia.
For this initiative, the Canadian port was one of the short-listed nominees at the port awards category of the GREEN4SEA Awards 2018.