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Whales News

03 Jun 2024

South African Appeals Court Throws Lifeline to Shell's Wild Coast Exploration

© KRUTOPIMAGES / Adobe Stock

A South African appeals court on Monday suspended a previous ruling that halted offshore exploration by Shell along the unspoilt Wild Coast and allowed oil companies another chance at public consultation, court documents showed.The lack of public consultation was among key reasons why a lower court ruled against Shell and other oil companies Impact Africa and BG International.In a keenly watched decision, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) provided a lifeline to oil companies exploring along South Africa's coast…

15 Nov 2023

US Appeals Court Orders Gulf Lease Auction Within 37 Days

Source: Earthjustice, Credit: NOAA

A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ordered that a postponed federal auction of drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico be held within 37 days, a setback for environmentalists seeking expanded protections for the endangered Rice's whale.According to court papers, the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit dismissed an effort by four green groups to block an expansion of the sale ordered by a lower court judge in September.The judges said the groups lacked standing to challenge the September decision.

07 Nov 2023

WSC Releases Global Whale Chart

© Jeremy Francis / Adobe Stock

Accidental collisions between ships and whales are a global concern, and can occur wherever there is an overlap between whale activity and vessel traffic. To help seafarers plan their voyages to minimize the risk of collisions, the World Shipping Council (WSC) has launch the WSC Whale Chart.This navigational aid is the first global mapping of all mandatory and voluntary governmental measures to reduce harm to whales from ships. The WSC Whale Chart is available for free to all…

21 Sep 2023

Longline Fishing Company Successfully Trials Whale Depredation Solution

F/V Ocean Azul crew members release catch from a protection cage on the interior operations deck (Photo: Pesquera Azul)

Norway/Uruguay-based Pesquera Azul’s has successfully trialed an innovative catch protection cage in whale-rich waters in the southern Indian Ocean. The company says it is a potential game-changer for the longline fishing industry as it grapples with the challenge of whale depredation.The steady increase in the whale population in sub-Antarctic fishing grounds is hampering the longline fishing industry, especially for fatty fish species. Whales have learned to snatch, for example…

22 Aug 2023

NOIA Unhappy About Rice Whale Protection Recommendations

© Matthew Cross / Adobe Stock

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito has said that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issue of a Notice to Lessees (NTL) with recommended restrictions on ongoing industry activities within the expanded Rice's Whale habitat area imposes “unwarranted restrictions on U.S. energy production at a time of continued inflation with prices rising at the pump for consumers.”With likely fewer than 100 individuals remaining, Rice's whales are one of the most endangered whales in the world.

18 May 2023

Alliance Says No Link Between Offshore Wind Surveys and Mammal Deaths

© Vadim / Adobe Stock

The EnerGeo Alliance has sent a letter to New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy and Assemblyman Christopher Tully, Chairman of the state’s Committee on Science, Innovation and Technology in advance of the Assembly’s hearing on marine mammal deaths scheduled for Thursday May 18, 2023.There have been at least 11 whales that have washed up dead along New Jersey's coastline since December 5, prompting concern that they are related to offshore wind development in the region.The Alliance…

05 Jan 2023

New Whale Protections to Impact Shipping Lanes off California

Photo: The combination of high cargo ship traffic, feeding areas and migratory whale routes result in a marked increased risk of ship strikes to whales that can result in serious injury or death to whales. (Credit: John Calambokidis/Cascadia)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a U.S. proposal to increase protections for endangered blue, fin and humpback whales off the California coast. The proposal takes effect this summer and expands areas that vessels should avoid to give whales more space, and extends vessel traffic lanes west of, in and around NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council's Marine Shipping Working Group originally recommended the modifications in 2015. NOAA partnered with the U.S.

08 Jun 2022

VIDEO: BOEM, NOAA Use Drones to Tag Endangered Whales

Photo credit; Laura Howes; permit #18059 Issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on Wednesday announced the successful digital acoustic tagging of 14 sei whales in waters offshore Massachusetts. This is the first time researchers have successfully tagged an endangered species in the United States using an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone. The data will help authorities to better inform offshore wind energy area selection.BOEM said that the collected data would shed important light on the whales’ acoustic behavior…

10 Aug 2021

DARPA Funds Tech to better Detect Whales

Image courtesy Charles River Analytics

Charles River Analytics won a $1.5 million follow-on contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a multi-sensor fusion module that incorporates deep learning to autonomously and accurately detect whales and other aquatic mammals.To protect marine mammals from collisions and sonar exposure, sailors must keep a vigilant lookout. Operators of remotely operated vehicles must also stay alert, and uncrewed surface vehicles’ (USVs) currently limited and narrow video feeds create risk, too.

07 Feb 2020

Study: How Changes in Shipping Patterns Affect Whales

Blue whale in the Pacific Ocean. Photo credit: Jessica Morten, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, National Ocean Service, NOAA

Understanding how changes in shipping traffic and distributions of fin, humpback, and blue whales in the Pacific Ocean affect the risk of whales being struck by ships is the focus of a new study published in the scientific journal, Frontiers. The findings also have implications for highly endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Atlantic Ocean.Dr. Jessica V. Redfern, an Ecologist, Senior Scientist, and Chair of the new Spatial Ecology, Mapping, and Assessment Program (EcoMap) at the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, is the lead author of the study.

23 Jan 2020

Ørsted, US Unis to Study Whales in OWP

Danish developer Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind has signed a research partnership  with Rutgers University, the University of Rhode Island and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to support academic research activities related to offshore wind.The group is set to launch the Ecosystem and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (ECO-PAM) project.Ørsted signed an initial memorandum of understanding with Rutgers University in May 2019 to support academic research activities related to offshore wind. The ECO-PAM project will be in addition to this initial funding agreement.The company plans to apply the project’s learnings to develop tailored processes and procedures to better protect the North Atlantic right whale during survey, construction and operation phases of their U.S. offshore wind farm portfolio.

06 Jan 2020

Gazprom Neft Completes Okhotsk Survey

Russian oil and gas exploration company Gazprom Neft has completed ecological monitoring of grey whale populations at the Ayashsky license block, offshore from Sakhalin Island, with expedition members registering more than 550 animals in the course of a five-month survey.According to a press release, the ecological monitoring of grey whales in the Sea of Okhotsk forms part of a joint programme being implemented by oil and gas companies operating in Sakhalin. Gazprom Neft joined the programme in 2017, on starting development of its Ayashsky license block.Researchers conducted 58 sorties on the Siem Sapphire support vessel between June and October…

22 Feb 2019

Regulator: Expand Pipeline, Protect Killer Whales

© Wesley/AdobeStock

Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) regulator recommended on Friday that Ottawa approve expansion of the government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline, but made new, nonbinding recommendations to mitigate harm to Pacific Ocean killer whales and the environment.The pipeline is in the national interest as it will create jobs and give Canadian oil access to more markets, the NEB said in a report. But expanding it is likely to significantly harm the killer whale population off the coast of British Columbia and increase greenhouse gas emissions from ships…