Vessel needs, preferences, and restrictions related to minimizing risk to whales without compromising vessel operations and the safety of navigation [graduate project]
MetadataShow full item record
New approaches to large whale conservation make use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs such as ocean gliders) to acoustically detect whales in near real-time, and send ‘whale alert’ information on whale locations to the bridge of commercial vessels to help mitigate vessel strikes to whales. A non-compliant or uninterested commercial fleet may be a barrier to achieving such conservation goals. Thus, understanding the needs, preferences, and restrictions of the shipping industry in the development phase of such new conservation initiatives may result in improved effectiveness. Here I report on a survey questionnaire designed to determine mariner knowledge and awareness of endangered whales and existing conservation measures, and the receptivity of the mariners to near real-time conservation technology on the bridge. The survey, distributed by the Shipping Federation of Canada, yielded 43 responses. The majority of respondents were interested in receiving more information on endangered whales and conservation measures in the eastern Canada and US-Gulf of Maine regions (72% and 79%, respectively). Eighty-four per cent of respondents indicated a preference for receiving information via Navigational telex (Navtex), and 79% listed Navtex as a “not disruptive” means of receiving near real-time whale alerts. Seventy-two per cent of respondents also listed Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) as “not disruptive”, though only 58% identified AIS as a preferred format of receiving whale alerts. Based on the questionnaire findings, mariners appear to be moderately receptive to receiving near real-time whale alerts on the bridge. To better understand the mariner willingness to participate, research should consider defining the response required of mariners when receiving such alerts. The results of this study suggest that future conservation programs should use communication formats that are most familiar to mariners and are least disruptive to the bridge protocols; i.e., Navtex and AIS.