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Want to Save the Whales? Eavesdrop on Their Calls

General Governmental
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Benioff Ocean Initiative
Whale Safe
the Benioff Ocean Initiative
the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
the Air Force
the Department of Defense
the Ocean Conservancy
the Marine Mammal Center
Condé Nast
Affiliate Partnerships

Matt SimonTo
Morgan Visalli
Douglas McCauley
Mark Baumgartner
Dan Hubbell
Tim Markowitz


Southern California
the Whale Safe
Channel Islands
Northern California
the San Francisco Bay

the Golden Gate

Santa Barbara’s
Los Angeles
Long Beach
the Santa Barbara Channel

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Positivity     47.00%   
   Negativity   53.00%
The New York Times
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“We see whales either wash up onto beaches with signs of broken bones and bruising, or we see them actually come into port on the bow of the ship,” says Morgan Visalli, project scientist at UC Santa Barbara’s Benioff Ocean Initiative, who helped develop the system, called Whale Safe. “In a similar fashion, slowing down around the whales gives them more time to react and gives the ships a little more opportunity to avoid running into the whales,” says Douglas McCauley, director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative, who helped develop Whale Safe. “And that's not really good when you're trying to hear animals that are many miles away making sounds.” So Baumgartner and his colleagues made the first 100 feet of mooring out of a rubbery “stretch hose.” When the buoy bobs on waves and tugs on the mooring, that stretchy bit coming off the instrument stays silent, allowing the hydrophone to listen for whales undisturbed.Transmitting the data is another hurdle: Audio files take up a lot of space, and the connection that sends them from the buoy to a satellite to Baumgartner’s lab is maddeningly slow. “So the acoustic data, the sightings, and the model data are integrated into the Whale Safe platform and then communicated out to the shipping industry and to government to help drive better decision­making to try to reduce the risk of ship strikes,” says Visalli, of the Benioff Ocean Initiative.Until now, whale protection initiatives in Southern California have been limited to voluntary speed restrictions put in place by NOAA—10 knots or less, which is about 11.5 miles per hour—usually from May to November, when whales are most abundant off the coast. “If this actually can provide the kind of data necessary to help ship owners slow down below 10 knots, they'll drastically reduce the likelihood of a fatal strike on a whale.” And the planet gets a bonus: “Reducing your speed by about 10 percent reduces your [greenhouse gas] emissions by about 13 percent when every other factor is taken in,” Hubbell adds.Slowing down has grown more critical because whales are acclimating—and not in a good way—to all the noise we're introducing into the oceans, from giant ships or otherwise.

As said here by Wired