Ship strike highlighted as a key global threat

6th Dec 2017

With an estimated 90% of the world's industrial goods transported by sea, ship strike is an increasing and serious threat to cetaceans.

Of particular concern are populations of large, slower moving whales in heavily industrialised areas such as those found in European and North American waters.

With such intensive shipping activity combined with a whales need to periodically surface to breath, it is inevitable that there is a risk of collision. However, to date the issue has not been given significant attention and there are is a limited amount of research available to help industry and conservations to reduce the threat of impact.

The recent spate of North Atlantic right whale deaths, however, have raised the issue in the public consciousness, and the threat ship strike continues to represent to this tiny remaining population is finally resulting in some interest in the issue from a policy perspective.

ORCA aim to build on this and are spearheading this topic through an innovative partnership with industry. Working in conjunction with Brittany Ferries and Nottingham Trent University, the charity conducted pilot research in the Bay of Biscay to start to understand whale behaviour when faced with large ships.

You can read about our preliminary findings if our The State of European Cetaceans 2017 report.