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Whale Protection Listening System Near Boston Shipping Lanes

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Listening Buoys Deployed in Shipping Lanes Near Boston – Ten hydrohones installed in December in and near Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary are now active, monitoring the busy shipping lanes for whales. When a whale is heard, tanker captains are notified within a half hour, and required to slow down (which reduces noise) and post lookouts, so that fewer extremely endangered Northern right whales are killed by ship strikes. The listening network will also help scientists to understand how the whales respond to the approach of ships. “A lot of the coastline throughout the world is becoming industrialized,” said Sofie Van Parijs, a bioacoustician at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. You have to know what you are listening for to understand what is going on, Van Parijs said. “Most of the time, there is boat noise, and it’s like living near a highway, and then every now and then you hear a whale coming through, like a bird flying by, singing,” she said. Although humpbacks are known for their “singing” abilities, most of the whale sounds are creaking clicks, like a slowly opening door on a rusty hinge, or the distinctive “r-r-r-rooop” sound that right whales make. But ship noise is always present. Researchers are actually hoping for a big storm that drives all vessels to port, to record what Stellwagen sounds like without machinery’s din. Sources:Cape Cod Online, 4/2/08 [READ ARTICLE] Boston Globe, 4/7/08 [READ ARTICLE]Science Daily, 4/3/08 [READ PRESS RELEASE] See also: Project leader Chris Clark of Cornell has launched a new website that tracks whale detections each day, and includes audio and video about the project. [CORNELL LISTEN FOR WHALES WEBSITE]

One Response to “Whale Protection Listening System Near Boston Shipping Lanes”

  1. » Blog Archive » New recorder network will listen in on Gulf of Mexico ships, whales, seismic surveys Says:

    […] the same recording units that have provided a rich stream of new data on the effects of shipping noise on whale communication off Boston, Chris Clark of […]