Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies
Posted by Sean Hastings | California, United States
Vision: Sustainable ocean commerce, clean air, safer whales and a quieter ocean
Shipping is the most economical way to move goods, however, its presence comes at a cost to the health of the ocean, atmosphere, and us! Large ships strike endangered whales, hampering population recovery. Large ships are responsible for substantial amounts of worldwide emissions of black carbon, nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter, sulfur, air toxics, greenhouse gases, and substances that deplete ozone in the upper atmosphere. Large ships also emit relatively loud, low-frequency underwater noise, mainly caused by propeller cavitation, which has exponentially increased ocean noise over the past 60 years.
These problems are magnified in southern California where the co-ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach form the third largest port complex in the world, neighbor the 2nd most populous location in the US, and serve as critical habitat for a variety of cetacean species.
The solutions to these problems are seemingly simple and straightforward – slow ships down, burn cleaner fuel, separate ships and whales in time and space. Implementing and scaling these solutions is challenging and complex with current data, analytics and technology. We need experts in ocean noise, whales, transportation logistics, air quality, technology, and resource management to guide a comprehensive strategy to address shipping impacts in Southern California and wherever ships, whales and people intersect.