Retired Rear Admiral: Existing Technology Can Help Protect Right Whale Population While Maintaining Boating Access

In a new piece in The Messenger, Rear Admiral (Ret.) Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D. examines how readily available technologies can be used to protect North Atlantic right whales – while also ensuring coastal communities can still partake in the recreation activities – including boating and fishing – they’ve come to love and rely on for economic gain across local communities.  

One example of this technology is real-time location monitoring of the North Atlantic right whale population, which is critical for experts to utilize while saving this endangered species. Giving vessel operators access to real-time monitoring data will help them maintain safe distances from right whales, allowing them to safely move along the coast while recreational boaters continue to enjoy time out on the water.

Gallaudet writes that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “can simultaneously save right whales and accommodate America’s maritime community with commercial technology that is available now.” Gallaudet highlights how real-time location monitoring has been successfully used in Europe to detect and locate whale populations.

“A consortium of European universities and marine technology companies established in 2019 has been conducting the PIAQUO project in the Mediterranean Sea’s Pelogos Sanctuary, where fin and sperm whales are being monitored using real-time, passive acoustic detection and localization.”

This reliable, proven technology can be utilized so recreational boaters can confidently and safely use their boats and recreate in open Atlantic waters without fear of disrupting these endangered whales. Gallaudet writes: “Now that this marine mammal is on the verge of extinction, NOAA needs to do much more than research. Rather than imposing regulatory overreach, the agency can rapidly implement real-time monitoring that will prevent the dual decimation of both this endangered species and the economic engine that is marine transportation. Technology can help save right whales — right now — and we would be wise to use it.”

Read more about how real-time location monitoring can help protect the North Atlantic right whale while maintaining boating access by clicking here.