Photo: CMA CGM

New Buoys to Help Protect North Atlantic Right Whales from Ship Strikes

Mike Schuler
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August 18, 2022

French ocean carrier CMA CGM has announced the deployment of the first buoys that will aid in the protection of endangered North Atlantic right whales from ships strikes along the U.S. East Coast.

CMA CGM is partnering with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the effort. The two entered into a partnership in March with the aim of increasing right whale detection efforts along the East Coast.

With funding from CMA CGM, WHOI researchers sought to assemble and deploy two near real-time passive acoustic monitoring buoys off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia and Savannah, Georgia.

The second of the two buoys was deployed today approximately 39 miles off the coast of Savannah. The first arrived on location off Norfolk in July. The locations were chosen because the ports are among the busiest in the United States, which often puts ships directly in the path of migrating whales.

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. The latest estimates suggest there are fewer than 350 remaining, with less than 100 reproductively active females, according to NOAA.

For decades, vessel strikes and entanglements in fishing gear have been the two primary causes of right whale injury and death.

With that in mind, NOAA Fisheries recently announced proposed changes to vessel speed regulations to further protect North Atlantic right whales from collision.

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