Many maritime companies pride themselves on workplace safety, but are they ‘whale-safe’?
Italy-based sustainability organization Friend of the Sea is still awaiting its first whale-safe after launching last year Registration . The organization promotes ocean sustainability through a certification scheme for various industry activities, from fisheries to aquaculture.
Two South African companies have joined so far, one for aquaculture and the other for fisheries, but so far none have safe for whales.
The whale campaign is primarily aimed at shipping companies and cruise lines to save whales from collisions.
“Due to South Africa’s long coastline and large population of humpback whales, this is sharing a particularly important story in the region,” said Alessandra Marra, spokeswoman for Friend of the Sea.
“To be certified, companies must commit to a specific list of sustainability requirements. For whales, this includes slowing down in high-risk areas, working with research organizations to report whale sightings, and more.
“Compliance is verified through an annual external audit and [in some cases] the use of video surveillance on board ships. This applies to both whale safety certification and our more well-known fisheries and aquaculture certifications,” she said.
Whale collisions pose a threat to shipping and ocean conservation efforts. Experts fear that many collisions do not be reported. According to Friend of the Sea, up to 20,000 whales are killed each year in ship collisions.
“Various conservation organizations consider this to be one of the top threats to the species.”
Shipping companies are being warned about ranked their efforts to reduce strikes and identified areas of high risk of collision.
South American marine biologists report an encouraging increase in humpback whale numbers in recent years, with a large ‘super pod’. ” along the Atlantic coast.