Working to Protect Whales
Two joint advisory council working groups, facilitated by Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones national marine sanctuaries, made final recommendations on ways to reduce the risk of ship strikes on whales, better understand the sanctuaries' acoustic environment and address oil spill response technologies. The working groups were comprised of representatives from the shipping industry, science community, conservation community, and state and federal agencies. The recommendations will help NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System better protect and manage sanctuary ecosystems.
Shipping Lane Changes to Help Whales
In November 2012, the International Maritime Organization approved shipping lane changes in California to improve navigational safety and reduce the risk of whale ship strikes near busy ports, including portions of the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries. The changes will take place in 2013. At Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) this was made possible through years of dedicated work by sanctuary staff, the sanctuary advisory council, NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Coast Guard, the shipping industry, Cascadia Research and the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps program.
Partnerships for Resource Conservation
IWorking in collaboration with more than a dozen organizations, the sanctuary released an iPad/iPhone App called WhaleAlert. The free app, available to the public, provides mariners with a one-stop-shop for right whale information. In a related effort, the sanctuary has developed report cards for ships that use the Automatic Identification System and pass through the sanctuary. This tool provides feedback on compliance with right whale regulations and recommendations. In addition to the app and report cards, the sanctuary became a sister sanctuary to Bermuda's marine mammal sanctuary. The agreement adds a mid-migration location in a network of sanctuaries protecting the same population of endangered humpback whales.