Many populations of whales around the world are threatened by collisions with vessels. In the PELAGOS Sanctuary, the scientific community and several ship-owners have joined forces to deal with these accidents. The REAL TIME PLOTTING OF CETACEANS (REPCET) system is a collaborative computer tool for use in commercial shipping. At present, several shipping companies operating in the sanctuary are using REPCET. Every sighting of large cetaceans by watch-keeping personnel on board a vessel equipped with REPCET is transmitted by satellite in semi-real-time to a server located on land.
Hector’s and Māui dolphins
In 2008, the Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries put in place a Hector’s and Māui dolphin Threat Management Plan (TMP) that identifies human induced threats to Hector’s and Māui dolphin populations and outlines strategies to mitigate those threats.6 This plan provides a platform in which to guide research, engagement, management and review processes.
Australia has an excellent response capacity to assist individuals and groups of whales in distress, in cases where assistance is physically and logistically possible.
In 2017 the Australian Government published The National Strategy for Reducing Vessel Strike on Cetaceans and other Marine Megafauna 2017.
This document provides guidance on how to measure and reduce the risk of vessel collisions and the impacts they may have on marine megafauna, including cetaceans.