Protecting whales from ship strikes

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Ship strikes.

One of the greatest known threats to all whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Today, we aim to change that.

Collisions with marine traffic is a deadly issue for whales, dolphins and porpoises and is hampering the recovery of endangered whale species worldwide. The WCA Partnership is working with stakeholders to reduce the global threat of collisions by providing training and resources to operators of all commercial vessels, including cargo ships, fishing vessels, cruise ships, and whale watching boats.

Donate today to help us save more whales and dolphins from ship strikes

The Issue

Whether it’s fishing fleets, cargo ships, cruise liners or whale watching vessels, ship strikes pose a significant threat, especially to large whale species, many of which are endangered.

The amount of vessel traffic in our oceans is increasing and with it, the risk of whales, dolphins and porpoises coming into conflict with these vessels. The implications are not just for the conservation and welfare of cetaceans, but for human safety as well.

Commercial vessels often pass through areas where whales and dolphins feed, mate, give birth or travel, with potentially disastrous consequences for the animals. Large vessels in particular are unable to make manoeuvres to avoid whales in their path.

Slow moving whale species are particularly vulnerable to collision. Specifically, species and populations that have low numbers of individuals, are particularly at risk of population decline even if only a small number of ship strikes occur per year.

© Fabien Vivier Murdoch University Australia under research permit

North Atlantic right whale – A population on the edge

Species such as the right whales are some of the most vulnerable. The North Atlantic population, which has been on the decline since 2010, due almost entirely to the impacts of collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear. Only 450 North Atlantic right whales survive today, with deaths outpacing births in recent years.

On the 8th of January 2020, one of just four endangered North Atlantic right whale calves known to exist was discovered to have suffered deep boat propeller wounds to both sides of its head. The injured calf was photographed by an aerial survey team from the National Marine Fisheries Service about 8 miles off the coast of the state of Georgia, USA, while swimming with its mother.

We must act now and do more to protect this vulnerable species!

What the WCA is doing

The World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), with the support of Noble Caledonia Charitable Trust, has developed the “Becoming Whale Aware” online training course for commercial vessels, including cruise ships, as well as whale watching boats, as part of our efforts to progressively ensure the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins and their environment.

We will be actively working with a range of industries to ensure the uptake of this new training course to enhance the ability of vessel crews in avoiding collisions with whales and dolphins.

We need to do more!

We are raising vital funds to continue reducing the impact of vessel collisions on whales, dolphins and porpoises. This will enable us to:

  • Run workshops to train vessel crew to avoid ship strikes.
  • Develop detailed global maps of high collision risk areas.
  • Extend training course materials to include the Antarctic and Arctic regions.

We need your help

Buys our time to contact three shipping companies and provide 
whale collision advice.
Buys a free training and support for a boat owner in the developing world.allows us to create new collision risk maps to help ships avoid whales


On World Oceans Day 2013 the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA) launched as a fledgling partnership made up of a group of dedicated grass roots NGOs, passionate individuals, and commercial whale watching businesses desperate to make a positive difference for whales and dolphins.

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