Ocean Conservation: Cetaceans and Shipping Lanes
Risk Assessment of Shipping Activities and Habitat Use by Large Cetaceans within the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries
Large whales (cetaceans) face increasing threats in our oceans including potential impacts of vessel traffic such as ship strikes and vessel noise. Recent observations indicate negative interations may be increasing. Our primary goal is to investigate the risk for Gray whales and endangered Humpback and Blue whales in an area of increasing shipping activities.
We will use historical whale sighting data and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) data in selected time-periods to identify types and numbers of vessels that transit the shipping lanes in the vicinity of the large cetacean foraging and transiting areas in central California. Our spatial analysis will provide important details on critical habitat within the three central California National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas and the overlap of cetacean densities with ship densities.
This project will fill important data gaps of these large cetaceans and provide a vital component to Ecosystem Based Management (EBM). Comprehensive mapping to analyze habitat uses by whales and vessels is a key component to successful marine spatial planning and will provide important information for balancing ocean uses.
New 2012 Result Summary ( 2 M pdf)
Pacific Life Foundation www.PacificLifeFoundation.com
Whale watching cruises (opportunistic data collected by Keiper) included the following: