Friend of the Sea, a program of the World Sustainability Organization, has launched a new Whale-Safe certification and released a Whale Ship Strikes Dossier. A whale ship strike is a collision, sometimes lethal, between any type of boat and a whale. Friend of the Sea’s Whale-Safe program aims at motivating shipping operators to reduce the risk of whale ship strikes.The Whale-Safe label is awarded to those shipping operators which implement measures to prevent whale ship-strikes: a combination of thermal cameras, online reporting systems, shift in shipping lanes.
Whales can be difficult to spot for vessel operators because they are not always clearly visible from the surface. Even if the vessel operator can see the whale clearly, there may not be time to take action to avoid the collision. All sizes and types of vessels, from large ships to jet skis, have the potential to get into a collision with a whale.
Experts estimate that at least 20,000 whales are struck and killed by cargo, cruise, and fishing ships. Fatal collision rates in high-risk areas have almost doubled in the past 40 years and whale populations have been reduced by 50 percent.