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By GCN Staff

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Whales endangered by shipping

NOAA updates Whale Alert app

Originally developed in 2012 to help protect endangered right whales on the East Coast, the iOs-based Whale Alert app has been updated to provide mariners in the Pacific with the most current information available about whale movements and conservation initiatives.

The free app uses GPS, Automatic Identification System, wireless Internet and nautical charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to provide mariners with a single source of information about whale locations and conservation measures in their immediate vicinity.

New features include information about California Marine Protected Areas, PORTS (Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System) tide and weather data and the ability for the public to report whale sightings to databases that NOAA and whale biologists use to map whale habitats and migration patterns.

“Whales are important both ecologically and economically, but they continue to face a variety of threats including ship strikes,” said Michael Carver, deputy superintendent of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. “Whale Alert allows citizens to provide data scientists can use to inform management and better protect whale populations.”

Whale Alert has been developed by a collaboration of government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit conservation groups and private sector industries, led by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Whale Alert data collected by citizens and scientists are currently available online at the Whale Alert - West Coast website. “More is usually better when it comes to data,” said Jaime Jahncke, Point Blue Conservation Science lead on the project. “Whale Alert allows us to crowdsource data collection, so that as scientists we have more information available to help protect whales from ships.” 

Whale Alert can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App Store. More information on Whale Alert and the groups responsible for its development can be found at www.whalealert.org

Posted by GCN Staff on Sep 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM


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