November 30, 2016
Living largely on the fringes of a giant island continent, Australians rely on sea transport for the exports and imports that sustain our economy and lifestyle. Australians also have a strong affinity with the ocean, as reflected in the growth in recreational boating and cruise shipping. But these numbers risk putting people on a collision course – literally – with whales, turtles and other marine life.
In response to increasing concern about collision risk, the Department of the Environment and Energy has released a draft national strategy for reducing the risk of vessel strikes. It is open for public comment until January 31, 2017.
The strategy suggests that before we can develop ways to avoid collisions, we need to know exactly where animals are most in danger, by mapping the risk of vessel strike on a national scale. The NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub is working on a project to do just that. Read about the Quantification of national strike risk project in The Conversation.
Shipping routes around Australia in 2014. AMSA/NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub, Author provided
As Australian shipping grows, how can we avoid collisions with marine animals?, The Conversation, 30 November 2016
Draft National Strategy for Mitigating Vessel Strike of Marine Mega-fauna, Department of the Environment and Energy
Marine Hub project C5 - Quantification of national ship strike risk
The impact of recreational boats around whales and dolphins in their Australian habitats, International Fund for Animal Welfare, May 2012
The Marine Biodiversity Hub is funded by the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Programme
Image: Ship strikes can be deadly, as shown by this blue whale off the US northwest.
Craig Hayslip/Oregon State Univ./Flickr/Wikimedia Commons , CC BY