Just as cars cause human death and injury on roads around the world, increasing ship, boat and other vessel traffic is a real threat to whales and dolphins in the water, and the rise in the number (and huge size) of these vessels crossing the seas (their homes) means death and injury for many thousands of these defenseless creatures. Whales and dolphins are often unable to avoid ships and many collisions go unnoticed meaning that the number of deaths is far higher than figures suggest. Studies in recent years indicate that, for populations in certain areas, up to one third of whales found dead display signs of having died due to a collision with a boat or ship. Severe injuries may mean that a whale dies as a result many years later, but can also have an impact on the animal’s social group.
Just as with traffic on our roads, this problem needs careful management. The simple way to prevent collisions is to keep whales and dolphins away from ships, but this is not as easy as it may sound. WDC is working with international bodies and on projects to reduce vessel collisions all around the world, including in areas where whales or dolphins are particularly vulnerable, such as the East Coast of the United States.
We have to act now to stop this increase in whale and dolphin injury and death from collisions with ships across the world and we need your support to help achieve this.