The Great Whale Conservancy (GWC), in collaboration with our friends at CIFAMAC, are very happy to announce the release of our voluntary proposal to minimize ship strikes on great whales in and around the region of Mejillones, Chile. This region has had numerous documented whale deaths from ship strikes on blue, fin, humpback, and Bryde's whales recently. The GWC/CIFAMAC collaboration features whale biologist Ana Garcia Cegarra from CIFAMAC, along with the team from GWC, Michael Fishbach, Michael Barbaix (super tanker ship captain), and Delphi Waters.
The proposal combines years of whale data collected by the CIFAMAC team in and around Mejillones, Chile along with the GWC team's careful planning of a route into and out of Mejillones Port that is as safe as possible for the whales, while adding the least amount of time and distance for the transiting ships. The end result, which can be downloaded here, has been openly accepted by the local port and government authorities in the region and will establish Mejillones as the first port to be designated a Whale Guardian Port as a part of the GWC's newly established Whale Guardians Program.
The GWC wishes to extend gratitude to the team at CIFAMAC in Chile. We have worked on this effort with them for one full year, and their friendship, along with their open cooperation and trust, has made it a complete pleasure for us all at the GWC. The above proposal will soon be available to all ship captains transiting Northern Chile, and we can breathe a sigh of relief that those close encounters between ships and whales will be greatly minimized in the near future. The outcome: whale lives will be saved.
Our Whale Guardians project plans its next stop in Brazil. There is a big world out there and unfortunately it is full of coastal and port areas where there are far too many close encounters between ships and whales. We plan to work on similar proposals in those areas where there are no international guidelines or traffic lanes for transiting ships (such as Mejillones), and to create amendments to existing routes in those areas where there are guidelines (usually created under the auspice of the International Maritime Organization). Our cardinal rule for each and every proposal is that we must have a local partner with a strong knowledge base of the local whales who can be relied upon to guide us to the most effective solution. Each proposal will always consider having the most minimal impact possible on the shipping industry, which makes ship captain, Michael Barbaix, invaluable to these efforts.