USCG Sector Puget Sound Launches Effort to Curb Vessel Traffic’s Impact on Whales

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound is engaging in a four-year pilot program that is expected to help minimize the vessel traffic impact on endangered whales in the Salish Sea, the agency announced Feb. 21.

Hosted in the Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service (VTS), the program allows for the Coast Guard to get whale sighting reports from mariners and give close to real-time information on whale locations to mariners through a whale report alert system, according to the Guard.

The Coast Guard said that it plans to work closely with international, federal, tribal and state entities as well as nongovernmental organizations.

“The new cetacean desk aligns with our regional goals to help endangered whales and ships share the waters of the Salish Sea,” Rachel Aronson, a program director with blue economy alliance Washington Maritime Blue said. “When mariners call in a sighting to the VTS, that sighting will be used to help other mariners make safer choices.”

By Karen Robes Meeks