• Updated “Whale Alert” iPad, iPhone app invites public to contribute to safety of West Coast whales

    Mariners and the public on the U.S. West Coast can now use an iPad™ and iPhone™ to help decrease the risk of injury or death to whales from ship strikes.

    Whale Alert a free mobile application originally developed in 2012 to help protect endangered right whales on the East Coast, has been updated with new features to provide mariners in the Pacific with the most current information available about whale movements and conservation initiatives.

    The app uses GPS, Automatic Identification System, Internet and NOAA nautical charts to provide mariners with a single source of information about whale locations and conservation measures that are active in their immediate vicinity. New features include information about California Marine Protected Areas, PORTS® (Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System) tide and weather data and the ability for the public to report whale sightings to databases that NOAA and whale biologists use to map whale habitats and migration patterns.

    Slow-moving whales are highly vulnerable to ship strikes, since many of their feeding and migration areas overlap with shipping lanes. In 2007, four blue whales were killed by confirmed or likely ship strike in and around the Santa Barbara Channel. NOAA Fisheries declared this an Unusual Mortality Event. In 2010, five whales (two blue, one humpback and two fin whales) were killed by confirmed or likely ship strikes in the San Francisco area and elsewhere along the north-central California coast.

    Whale Alert has been developed by a collaboration of government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit conservation groups and private sector industries, led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Collaborating organizations include Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University, Cape Cod National Seashore, Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, Conserve I.O., Excelerate Energy, EOM Offshore, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Massachusetts Port Authority, NOAA Fisheries, National Park Service, Point Blue Conservation Science, U.S. Coast Guard and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, as well as shipping industry representatives.

    Whale Alert data collected by citizen science and scientists are currently available online at the Whale Alert – West Coast website.

    “More is usually better when it comes to data,” said Jaime Jahncke, Point Blue Conservation Science lead on the project. “Whale Alert allows us to crowd source data collection, so that as scientists we have more information available to help protect whales from ships.”

    Whale Alert can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App Store, at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whale-alert-reducing-ship/id911035973?ls=1&mt=8

    More information on Whale Alert and the groups responsible for its development can be found at http://www.whalealert.org

    For more information contact:  

    ●           Sarah Marquis, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; sarah.marquis@noaa.gov  949-222-2212

    ●           Kerry Branon, International Fund for Animal Welfare;  kbranon@ifaw.org  (508) 776-9872

    ●           Jaime Jahncke, Point Blue Conservation Science; jjahncke@pointblue.org; 707-781-2555 x335

    ●           Brad Winney, Conserve I.O., bwinney@conserve.io 347-837-2200

    On the Web:

    Whale Alert – West Coast: http:/westcoast.whalealert.org

    NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

    Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab or Ornithology: www.listenforwhales.org

    Conserve.IO http://conserve.io

    International Fund for Animal Welfare: http://www.ifaw.org

    Point Blue Conservation Science: http://www.pointblue.org

    Whale Alert – East Coast: http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/protect/whalealert.html

    CINMS Ship strikes: http://channelislands.noaa.gov/management/resource/ship_strikes.html

    GFNMS Ship strikes: http://farallones.noaa.gov/eco/vesselstrikes/welcome.html


    posted to Cedar Street Times on September 17, 2014

    Topics: Front PG News, Green


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