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Noonsite/MEER Whale Collision Survey Benefits from Excellent Feedback

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 15, 2009 05:04 PM

Published: 2009-01-15 17:04:22
Topics: Environment

Joint survey by Noonsite/MEER produces excellent results for scientific study to help avoid collisions between yachts and cetaceans.

Collisions between ships and cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are increasing around the world and several whale populations are under massive threat due to a high collision risk in some areas such as the US East Coast, the Mediterranean and around the Canary Islands. However, information on these collisions is scarce, especially for incidents involving sailing vessels.

To this end, in collaboration with MEER, noonsite set-up a survey 5 months ago - accessible via the front page of noonsite - inviting sailors from around the world to provide information on any whale/dolphin collisions or near misses during their sailing careers.

The survey is purely for scientific research and all information gathered will be used to: a) understand the reasons and causes of collisions, and b) help reduce the risk of collisions, both for sailors and for cetaceans.

After 5 months of running the survey noonsite is delighted to report that we have received almost 200 entries, mostly quite detailed and very valuable for the MEER study. Moreover, a great number of people have left their e-mail contact for further questions.

Marine biologist Fabian Ritter, director of research of the non-profit organisation MEER and member of of the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) "Ship Strike Working Group", comments; "This a very important and worthy study - it is the first of its kind and the main results will be presented at this year’s IWC meeting, and afterwards for scientific publication".

Noonsite look forward to publishing the survey results as soon as they are available.

Still Time to File Reports
It is not too late to take part in this important research, since the survey has been extended and will be available on until the end of March 2009.

Any sailors wishing to log a collision or near-miss can log a report here (reports may be given anonymously).

All reports are of value in providing statistical information on actual collisions and near misses, to help understand the reasons for the collisions and to help reduce the risk both for sailors and for cetaceans.

About MEER
M.E.E.R. e.V. is a non-profit association based in Berlin, Germany which runs the project M.E.E.R. La Gomera, Canary Islands. The Association’s objectives are the promotion of environmental protection through scientific research and public education, particularly concerning cetaceans and their natural habitats and the study of peaceful encounters between man, whales and dolphins.