Hope for whales from thermal imaging

Author // James Robbins Categories // Whale & Dolphin General News

Hope for whales from thermal imaging

Cutting edge technology could be use to cut the number of ship strikes deaths.

Researchers are calling for shipping companies and ports to help them trial new technology aimed at detecting whales with thermal imaging equipment.

Ocean Life Survey, a marine research consultancy working in the UK & New Zealand, are hoping to use thermal imaging to detect whales up to 5km away. They have developed a thermal imaging kit which was initially trialled with an New Zeland based tour operator, being used to detect Bryde's whales in the Hauraki Gulf, according to The Motorship.

Ship strike is a key threat to large whales and the true scale is unappreciated, as the vast majority of impacts are likely to undetected. The cameras will give captains vital information to help them make an informed decision to help avoid collisions, with the most recent iteration including an automated alarm.

Ocean Life Survey believe that deploying the technology around key coastal locations and in port waters could provide additional security and give vessels more information to help inform their speed and heading.

ORCA are working to address the issue of ship strike through monitoring fine scale behaviours, and aim to better understand the way that large whales respond to ships with the hope of reducing the number of impacts in high shipping traffic areas.