Initiative launched to monitor whales off New York

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The new buoys will provide important information on species such as the North Atlantic Right Whale.

The new buoys will provide important information on species such as the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Equinor Wind US, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have teamed up to deploy two near real-time acoustic buoys intended to expand the monitoring and detection of whale species in the waters of New York Bight.

The buoys will provide near real-time monitoring of species including the sei, fin, humpback and North Atlantic right whales. The new equipment will build on prior research done in the New York Bight, the body of water between Long Island’s Montauk Point and Cape May, New Jersey. A previously deployed acoustic buoy was funded by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation and the Flora Family Foundation.

The buoys will help marine conservation scientists track whale species that spend time in the area and assist Equinor in making ecologically sound decisions for its offshore wind lease site.

The general public will have a window into the behaviors of the acoustically sensitive mammals with the real-time data being publicly available on a dedicated website in the New York Aquarium.

“The newly deployed acoustic buoys significantly increase our coverage off the coasts of New York and New Jersey,” Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, senior scientist at the New York Aquarium and director of WCS’ Ocean Giants Program, said in a statement. “Having these data readily available will help guide decision-making and best practices for offshore wind development and other human-use activities in the NY Bight.”

Added Christer af Geijerstam, president, Equinor Wind US, “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, two of the leaders in the marine science community. The offshore wind industry has a logical role to play as a partner to marine biologists and others interested in better understanding and preserving the health of our oceans. This project will also help make Equinor better stewards of this lease site by providing data that informs our operational decision-making well into the future.”

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