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  • Writer's pictureChristine Fürthaller

Techniques for monitoring whale migration from space

Updated: Apr 11

At Whale Seeker, we are thrilled to announce a groundbreaking collaboration with WWF and other partners marking a significant step forward in our commitment to marine conservation and environmental stewardship.

The Arctic is experiencing profound changes due to climate change and increased industrial activities, posing unprecedented challenges for migrating whales. As sea ice melts earlier and forms later, the open water season for shipping expands, leading to a surge in vessel traffic in Arctic waters.

From 2013 to 2023, the number of ships operating in the region grew by 37%, with a 111% increase in the distance they sailed. This expansion raises concerns about the overlap between migrating whales and vessel traffic, especially during the critical "shoulder seasons" of spring and autumn. During their migrations, whales mate, give birth and feed. They must migrate between their summer and winter habitats to access the resources they need at different times of the year. However, these journeys are increasingly challenged by shipping and industrial infrastructure, which disturbs the whales and puts them at risk of collisions and exposure to underwater noise pollution.

Our collaboration with WWF and others focuses on testing how advanced satellite imagery analysis tools can help to monitor migratory patterns for whales. With very high-resolution satellite imagery and machine learning, we hope to detect even mid-sized whales during their migration, contributing valuable data for scientific studies, monitoring, and conservation efforts.

Whales are not just key components of the Arctic marine ecosystem; they are integral to the cultures and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples across the region. Safeguarding their migrations is not only a conservation challenge but a shared responsibility to protect our oceans' biodiversity.

We invite you to join us in our commitment to environmental conservation. Let's meet and explore how our innovative tools and solutions can support your organization's goals in environmental impact assessment, wildlife management, and carbon offsetting. Together, we can make a tangible difference in preserving the Arctic and safeguarding the migratory routes of these incredible marine mammals.


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