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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Whale Alert: A new app to reduce ships colliding with whales

A new app named 'Whale Alert' hopes to reduce collisions between ships and endangered North Atlantic Right whales by providing captains with data on where the whales are. Watch the video to see how it works.

Perhaps some of you are wondering if this would be an option for our waters. Here are a few of the problems I foresee:

1. In the past when local scientists have placed instruments in the water, in no time at all they have gone missing. Expensive equipment such as acoustic buoys are tempting to take home. If we can think of a system by which to prevent these being removed from the water, we are moving in the right direction. (please note this happens in a lot of countries around the world)

2. We don't yet know a whole lot about the blue whales calls. One thing is that they aren't chatterboxes...so what if they are there and just not making any sound that can be picked up by the acoustic buoys? As part of the blue whale project, we are collecting acoustic calls of the blue whales in Sri Lankan waters to ascertain frequency of calls etc. Lots of interesting stuff to be done in this department.

3. We cannot depend on spotter planes etc because we don't have them.

Any other thoughts? Please send them along!

Click on the link for the full article: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20120404_whale_app.html


  1. Its a combination of Satellite, Buoys, Airplanes..they can afford this stuff over there as I know personally of whale spotting aircraft used for decades to warn ships of collisions with right whales off the East Coast and also enforcing the speed limit of vessels by the Coast Guard (also by using the Aircraft)..last migrating season, 3 ships were fined massively for exceeding the 10Kts speed limit set when they were warned about right whales in the area..all this is possible if the right set of people gave it a go-ahead for Sri Lanka also..some private-public-partnership can be cobbled together as being tried in some places..for all kinds of marine applications..if only we take the Ocean seriously enough and if only most people knew that the major part of the planet was the Ocean and major generator of our Oxygen..I digress! Thanks for the post!

  2. Just seen this on youtube, thought It'd be interesting to post a link here

  3. I just got a news alert about a Blue Whale killed in ship collision , news from Sri Lanka it says, news says that the whale was asleep when it was hit..I guess you know more about this one. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/10/sleeping-whale-killed-in-shipping-lane-pictures_n_1505551.html

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  5. Researchers form St Andrews University had deployed hydrophones and recorders, attached with a buoy at the Tangalle sea and it went missing after few hours.
    The Government should take appropriate steps towards making solid policies, laws, punishments and establishing strong monitoring bodies in order to enhance the maritime laws and programs like "Whale Alert".

  6. Hi Alex. This is not the first time equipment has been removed from the water. Oceanographic equipment has also been picked up in a similar manner.