North Atlantic right whales (above) are on the brink of extinction, and a leading cause of their death is collisions with cruise and shipping vessels. A new iPad and iPhone app offers a way for ships to reduce the collisions.
Whale Alert gives real-time warnings triggered by buoys that listen for the whales’ calls and alert nearby users to their positions. In addition, it alerts mariners to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s right whale conservation measures — such as reduced speed limitations — that are active in their immediate vicinity.
Whale Alert was developed through a collaboration between government agencies, academic institutions, nonprofit conservation groups and private-sector industries, led by scientists at NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.
"Right whales need dramatic conservation progress to survive,” said Patrick Ramage, global whale director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare and one of the collaborators on Whale Alert. “This new iPad app gives these whales a fighting chance."