WHOI Will Deploy Buoys to Help Protect Right Whales

Three rare North Atlantic right whales photographed in Cape Cod Bay by Center for Coastal Studies aerial survey team on February 21, 2016.
CCS image taken under NOAA permit #14603-1.

FALMOUTH – The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has partnered with an international container shipping company to deploy new technology that will help reduce the chances of North Atlantic right whales being struck by vessels.  

The CMA CGM group, a French shipping and logistics company, will fund WHOI researchers to assemble and launch two passive acoustic monitoring buoys this year off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia and Savannah, Georgia.

Norfolk and Savannah were picked as the buoy locations since the two ports see high volumes of maritime traffic, increasing the likelihood of migrating whales being hit by ships.

There are approximately 336 North Atlantic right whales remaining on the planet. WHOI officials explained the importance of the new buoys in helping the critically endangered species.

“Vessel strikes are a major threat to large whales, so bringing awareness of the whales’ presence and increasing protection for them, particularly for the North Atlantic right whale, is incredibly important,” WHOI Marine Ecologist Mark Baumgartner said.

The partnership between the two groups will also lead to the development of an industry consortium dedicated to protecting right whales from risks due to vessels.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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