[MARMAM] Ship reporting systems & right whales

Greg Silber - NOAA Federal greg.silber at noaa.gov
Sun Apr 5 19:06:25 PDT 2015

We wish to notify readers that the paper

“The right whale mandatory ship reporting system: a retrospective”

has published and can be accessed at:  *https://peerj.com/articles/866/

*The right whale mandatory ship reporting system: a retrospective*

Gregory K. Silber <https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-1>*​*
<greg.silber at noaa.gov>, Jeffrey D. Adams
<https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-2>, Michael J. Asaro
<https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-3>, Timothy V.N. Cole
<https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-4>, Katie S. Moore
<https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-5>, Leslie I. Ward-Geiger
<https://peerj.com/articles/866/author-6>, Barbara J. Zoodsma

ABSTRACT.    In 1998, the United States sought and received International
Maritime Organization-endorsement of two Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR)
systems designed to improve mariner awareness about averting ship
collisions with the endangered North Atlantic right whale (*Eubalaena
glacialis*). Vessel collisions are a serious threat to the right whale and
the program was among the first formal attempts to reduce this threat.
Under the provisions of the MSR, all ships >300 gross tons are required to
report their location, speed, and destination to a shore-based station when
entering two key right whale habitats: one in waters off New England and
one off coastal Georgia and Florida. In return, reporting ships receive an
automatically-generated message, delivered directly to the ship’s bridge,
that provides information about right whale vulnerability to vessel
collisions and actions mariners can take to avoid collisions. The MSR has
been in operation continuously from July 1999 to the present. Archived
incoming reports provided a 15-plus year history of ship operations in
these two locations. We analyzed a total of 26,772 incoming MSR messages
logged between July 1999 and December 2013. Most ships that were required
to report did so, and compliance rates were generally constant throughout
the study period. Self-reported vessel speeds when entering the systems
indicated that most ships traveled between 10 and 16 (range = 5–20 +)
knots. Ship speeds generally decreased in 2009 to 2013 following
implementation of vessel speed restrictions. The number of reports into the
southern system remained relatively constant following a steady increase
through 2007, but numbers in the northern system decreased annually
beginning in 2008. If reporting is indicative of long-term patterns in
shipping operations, it reflects noteworthy changes in marine
transportation. Observed declines in ship traffic are likely attributable
to the 2008–2009 economic recession, the containerized shipping industry
making increased use of larger ships that made fewer trips, and diminished
oil/gas US imports as previously inaccessible domestic deposits were
exploited. Recent declines in shipping activity likely resulted in lowered
collision risks for right whales and reduced their exposure to underwater
noise from ships.
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