CMA CGM and WHOI have launched the first of two buoys to aid in the monitoring and protection of one of the world’s most critically endangered species.
The two organizations will also lead the development of an industry consortium focused on reducing risks to right whales.
Through this new step, the CMA CGM Group strengthens its initiatives to protect the environment and preserve biodiversity in the United States and worldwide.
NORFOLK, Va., July 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The CMA CGM Group, a global player in sea, land, air and logistics solutions, along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), deployed an acoustic monitoring buoy 33 miles off the coast of Norfolk, Va., to help increase right whale detection efforts along this heavily trafficked route. A second buoy is slated for deployment off the coast of Savannah, Ga., in the coming weeks.
Monitoring and protecting one of the world’s most critically endangered species
The deployment of the buoys aims to aid in the survival of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Although the whales are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, serious threats to their survival abound, and only approximately 336 of these great whales remain.
Locations off the coast of Norfolk and Savannah were chosen for the new systems because the ports are among the busiest in the United States, which often puts ships directly in the path of migrating right whales. The new buoys will fill a critical gap as they join a monitoring network of six similar buoys along the East Coast, bringing the total number of buoys to eight (see map).
The WHOI-developed acoustic buoys play an important role in protecting marine animals. Each species of whale creates its own unique calls, and the buoys are equipped with an instrument that transmits information about detected sounds to shore every two hours. This WHOI technology can detect, classify, and report the sounds of marine mammals in near real-time, and the data is analyzed by an acoustician to determine which species are present. Results are displayed publicly on Robots4Whales (robots4whales.whoi.edu) and shared with mariners. This enables dynamic protections, including NOAA’s Slow Zones for Right Whales, which are areas with voluntary vessel-speed restrictions along the eastern seaboard that are established when right whales are detected.
CMA CGM and WHOI to develop industry consortium for enhanced protection of marine mammals
In addition to the assembly and deployment of the new buoys to alert mariners of the presence of whales near critical U.S. ports, CMA CGM and WHOI will lead the development of an industry consortium focused on reducing risks to right whales from vessels and supporting the continued operation of the WHOI-developed digital acoustic monitoring buoys. This unique collaboration, started in the United States, aims to have a global impact by significantly improving marine mammal protection.
A Group committed to preserving biodiversity in the U.S. and around the world
These buoy launches reaffirm CMA CGM’s commitment to preserve marine biodiversity in the United States and worldwide. On the East Coast of the United States and Canada, CMA CGM requires its vessels to reduce their speed to a maximum of 10 knots in certain areas recognized as breeding grounds for cetaceans. On the West Coast, CMA CGM has voluntarily committed to the “Green Flag” speed-reduction program that was introduced in the sanctuary near the Santa Barbara Islands. Wherever possible, the Group strives to lower its speeds and thus limit the risk of collision in these cetacean-protection sanctuaries.
In addition to speed-reduction programs, the CMA CGM Group is participating in a variety of projects designed to revolutionize marine mammal protection through the development of innovative technology. Examples include:
REPCET, a collaborative system based on the density of the mesh created by navigation that allows merchant ships to receive and transmit alerts on whale positions in real time.
SEA DETECT, a European project that tests innovative solutions for detecting cetaceans and floating objects at sea.
CMA CGM has also joined the LIFE-PIAQUO consortium, whose objective is to develop and test various equipment to reduce the noise of maritime traffic and its impact on aquatic biodiversity.
The CMA CGM Group, as part of its sustainability commitment, no longer carries plastic waste on board any of its ships, since June 2022. Through its partnership with WHOI and others, the CMA CGM Group continues to make conserving biodiversity one of the top priorities of its CSR policy and to develop trade that is more responsible and fairer for everyone and for the planet.
Ed Aldridge, President of CMA CGM America and American President Lines, said, “At CMA CGM, we are dedicated to being stewards of the sea and finding BETTER WAYS to do business. We are excited to initiate this first buoy launch near Norfolk, Va., which is home to CMA CGM America’s headquarters and is a key location for filling a critical right-whale monitoring gap. We look forward to the next buoy launch in Savannah, Ga., as these deployments further advance our research-driven, technological solutions to responsibly share the ocean with marine life and protect endangered species.”
Mark Baumgartner, Project Principal Investigator and WHOI Marine Ecologist, said, “The deployment of these buoys are an important addition to a network of identical buoys along the East Coast that will let industry, government and the public know when whales are nearby. This network will be especially helpful for reducing risks to the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species that migrates, feeds and gives birth along the East Coast and has only approximately 336 animals left.”
About CMA CGM
Led by Rodolphe Saadé, the CMA CGM Group, a global player in sea, land, air and logistics solutions, serves more than 420 ports around the world across 5 continents, with a fleet of 580 vessels. The Group transported 22 million TEU containers (twenty-foot equivalent units) in 2021. With its subsidiary CEVA Logistics, a global logistics player which transported 474,000 tons of air cargo and more than 21 million tons of inland freight, and its air cargo division CMA CGM AIR CARGO, the CMA CGM Group is constantly innovating to provide customers a comprehensive and increasingly efficient offering, thanks to new shipping, inland, airfreight and logistics solutions.
Firmly committed to the energy transition in shipping and a pioneer in its use of alternative fuels, the CMA CGM Group has set a Net Zero-Carbon target for 2050.
Each year, via the CMA CGM Foundation, the Group supports thousands of children as part of its efforts to promote education for all and equal opportunities. The CMA CGM Foundation also intervenes in humanitarian crises requiring an emergency response by calling on the Group’s shipping and logistics expertise to deliver humanitarian supplies around the world.
Present in 160 countries through its network of more than 400 offices and 750 warehouses, the Group employs 150,000 people worldwide, including 2,900 in Marseille where its head office is located. In the United States, CMA CGM, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Va., employs more than 22,000 people. Its subsidiary, American President Lines (APL), operates a fleet of U.S.-flagged vessels and supports U.S. territories and American military stationed around the world.
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About Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930, its mission is to understand the ocean and its interactions with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate an understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. WHOI’s pioneering discoveries stem from an ideal combination of science and engineering—one that has made it one of the most trusted and technically advanced leaders in fundamental and applied ocean research and exploration anywhere. WHOI is known for its multidisciplinary approach, superior ship operations, and unparalleled deep-sea robotics capabilities. We play a leading role in ocean observation and operate the most extensive suite of ocean data-gathering platforms in the world. Top scientists, engineers, and students collaborate on more than 800 concurrent projects worldwide—both above and below the waves—pushing the boundaries of knowledge to inform people and policies for a healthier planet. Learn more at whoi.edu.
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