Whales are in danger from a variety of dangers from humans, one of which is collisions with ships – the World Sustainability Organization estimates that 18,000 to 25,000 marine mammals die annually.
There is a method to reduce the number of deaths, but. Reuters has reported that Chile’s government and the MERI Foundation have deployed the first smart buoy of the Blue Boat Initiative that aims to protect whales and track underwater ecosystems. The buoy, situated on the Gulf of Corcovado, 684 miles away from Chile, will alert ships to close blue, humpback sei and right whales to aid in avoiding incidents.
The technology uses sensors that measure oceanographic depth and AI-powered listening for the Deep Ocean Environment (LIDO) software to determine a marine mammal’s species and geographic location. It also monitors the ocean’s health by checking oxygen levels, temperature, and other parameters. This additional information could be useful in examining the impact of climate change on marine life.
The Blue Boat Initiative currently aims to construct at least six buoys to ensure the safety of whales in the Gulf. In the future, project members want to cover the whales’ entire migratory path across Antarctica and the Equator. This will reduce collisions across the entire area of the whales’ habitat and help inform government decisions on the conservation and protection of the environment.
Technology could be just as vital for humans as whales. Apart from their important roles in the delicately balanced ecosystems, whales also help in the capture of CO2 as well as redistribute heat via the ocean’s circulation. The more they can flourish, the better the ocean’s chances of reducing global warming and its detrimental impacts.