Online tool tracks whales to prevent ship collisions

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – From refrigerators to cell phones, the United States relies on mega-containers to deliver most goods. But busy ocean freeways pose one of the deadliest threats to endangered whales

“These cargo ships are 1,000 feet long. Despite being the largest animal in the world, they are unmatched in size for something that is 10 to 20 times larger,” said Callie Steffen, a project scientist. Benioff Ocean Initiative (BOI) UC Santa Barbara.

BOI works to harness the power of science to solve the problems of the oceans and encourage the repetition of these successes.

Steffen says a record number of whales have been killed in boat collisions off the coast of California and around the world in recent years.

“Often, they don’t know what happened until they got into port,” Steffen said. “Most of the time, after a whale is hit and killed, it will sink, decompose, be removed by ocean currents.”

For every known case, 10 are likely to go undetected.

“There was a need for more real-time data on whales.”

Steffen is the lead scientist on the project Whale Safea technology-based mapping and analysis tool that shows whale and boat data for the Santa Barbara Channel in near real time.

An international highway for boats, the area is an important feeding ground and a migratory route for blue whales, fins and humps, all species that are still endangered or threatened.

“The ocean is going to be busier and busier,” Steffen said. “That’s why it’s so important to get these solutions up and running now.”

The online tool combines several technologies:

  • Underwater acoustic system that automatically detects whale calls
  • Almost real-time predictions of whale feeding sites based on dynamic oceanographic data
  • Mobile app used by community scientists to record whale watching

Developed and expanded by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and monitored by scientists at Texas A&M Galveston, the acoustic system detects whale calls using an underwater microphone 600 feet above the surface. Processed using an AI computer, the data is sent via satellite transmitter for review and confirmation on the surface buoy of the system.

Local whale watching and community scientists on tour boats add whale watching Whale Alert and Spotter Pro mobile applications.

“For anyone who is analyzing this data to digest it very easily, we put all of that data stream into an algorithm we call‘ whale presence assessment ’,” Steffen said. “That rating will go from low to high. Very high.”

Using Whale Safe, boats can know when to slow down in the canal.

The tool classifies the vessels and the shipping company according to them collaboration rates NOAA voluntary speed reductions on the Santa Barbara Channel.

“It’s a company company whether this is something they build,” Steffen said. “And we see companies that are doing great and constantly getting A’s. And then we see companies that are constantly getting F’s.”

Because deceleration is voluntary, delivery times are a reason for a vessel not to comply.

Steffen says consumers can ask retailers for products delivered in containers containing whales.

“Everything that was sitting at my desk at one point was probably on a boat. So as everyday consumers, we’re connected to this,” Steffen said. “Wellness companies will listen to their merchants: the world’s Home Depot, the world’s Target, the world’s Walmart.”

And Steffen says these companies listen to their consumers.

Captain and owner Gone Whale Watching San DiegoDomenic Biaginik wants to see Whale Safe spread all over the world.

“They’re animals that are used to being the biggest thing in the ocean. They don’t get rid of them because they don’t need them,” Biagin said. “The technology is there. We have the ability to warn these big boats and hit these animals.”

Using small boats, his company offers intimate encounters with marine life.

“The more people come out and see these animals, the more he will take care of them,” Biagin said. “That’s where I think our walks go a long way in helping these animals.”

Online tool tracks whales to prevent ship collisions Source link Online tool tracks whales to prevent ship collisions

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