In some marine regions, shipping routes pass directly through breeding or feeding grounds of large whale and dolphin species: for example, south of Sri Lanka, where blue whales live, or in the Hellenic Trench off Greece, the home of sperm whales. Re-routing shipping lanes to avoid navigating through these areas significantly reduces the risk of collisions between ships and whales. Together with its partners, OceanCare has already been able to convince major shipping companies and shipping associations to reroute in certain areas.
In cases where re-routing is not possible, shipping speed must be reduced. Reducing the speed of ships has been shown to reduce not only the risk of collisions with whales, but also CO2 emissions, other air pollutants and ocean noise.
In order to protect endangered sperm whales in the Eastern Mediterranean, OceanCare has funded the development of the world’s first integrated sperm whale localisation system. The SAvE Whales system can inform captains in real time about the presence of sperm whales. It is intended to become employed in those key zones where bypassing is not possible. The decision to use the SAvE Whales system lies with the Greek government.