Whale Alert: A Tool for Reducing Collisions Between Ships and Endangered Whales

Friday, 13 February 2015: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Room 210G (San Jose Convention Center)
David Wiley, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Scituate, MA
Roland Arsenaul, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Moira Brown, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA
Michael Carver, NOAA/NOS/Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, 1 Bear Valley Rd. Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, Point Reyes Station, CA
Patrick Ramage, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouth Port, MA
Kurt Schwehr, Google, Mountain View, CA
Michael Thompson, NOAA/NOS/Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, 1 Bear Valley Rd. Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, Point Reyes Station, CA
Brad Winney, Delray Beach, FL
Jaime Jahncke, Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA
Dynamic Ocean Management (DOM) requires the rapid dissemination of accurate and complex spatial/temporal information in a form that is easily understood by target audiences. Whale Alert is a free mobile app (supported by a cloud-based data infrastructure) designed to provide comprehensive and immediate information to mariners relative to endangered whale conservation and management. Its goal is to reduce the risk of collisions between endangered whales and ships, a major source of large whale mortality. Information, including the operating ship’s location, speed restriction zones, International Maritime Organization sanctioned Areas to be Avoided, recommended routes, acoustic whale detections, short term animal aggregations and individual whale sightings are visualized on digital nautical charts that can be updated in near-real time. Additional information, such as weather and, for some ports, tidal and wind conditions provide added benefits to mariners. Mariners and other users can input whale sightings or report distressed or injured whales to authorities through Whale Alert, assisted by an easy to use whale identification guide. Whale Alert transmits information over the internet or the marine Automatic Identification System (AIS). Now active on the east and west coasts of the United States, Maritimes Canada, and Quebec Canada, Whale Alert is one of the first tools capable of facilitating dynamic management of the marine environment and has world-wide applications, including expansion to cover additional taxa and species needing protection. Whale Alert is currently available for iOS devices and will have an Android version available by Q1 2015. A commercial version of Whale Alert is available through SkyMate.  Whale Alert can be downloaded from https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whale-alert-reducing-ship/id911035973?ls=1&mt=8