SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Authorities such as NOAA, the Gulf of Farallone, the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Mammal Center are closely monitoring the deadly pattern of whale collisions with large ocean-going vessels

But now a new system is being rolled out to protect whales crossing the coast and waters of the Bay Area. It is known as Whale Safe. The buoy-based technology was developed in partnership, including with the Benioff Ocean Science Lab and UC Santa Cruz.

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“Today’s announcement of new Benioff-funded buoys that will help us achieve our goal will help us meet this recommendation given to us by our advisors, and our understanding of the distribution and abundance of cetaceans in these waters improves San Francisco’s ability to fill this important evidence gap.” ,” said Maria Brown, director of the Gulf of Farallones, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Developers say artificial intelligence helps enable acoustic surveillance technology deployed by Whale Safe. The system combines this sound data with whale habitat models and whale sighting recordings. The result is a whale watching system that allows agencies, shipping companies, researchers and even the public to monitor the speed of ships and the interactions of whales in coastal waters.

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“A complete understanding of the year-round presence of whales will inform the core pheromones and preserves of Cordell Bank with the data needed to further reduce ship strikes on whales,” Brown said.

They hope the Whale Safe system will help reduce the type of collisions that kill about 80 endangered whales off the West Coast each year – and perhaps give them a voice to make our waters safer. The team says the data will also be used by the Benioff Ocean Science Lab and the Marine Mammal Center to help develop additional safety measures down the road.

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