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Ocean Azores: Projects

The ocean Azores Foundation was set up to work to address 6 key threats to the whales and cetations that exist in the waters of the Azores. With this in mind the foundation will look to projects that address these as a priority.

Other projects for the community of the Azores will also be considered outside of this remit if deemed appropriate.

This page is currently under construction. Thank you for visiting the site and please bear with us as we build up our knowledge, plans and resources Interested in helping? Please contact us here.

Threat 1: Lack of Awareness

A lack of understanding as to the threats that we (humans) pose to whales through our actions. From oceanic warming causing threats to food, to plastic waste and ghost nets to over tourism, whales and dolphins face threats in all directions. We as humans have impacted on their world to a point where some species will soon face extinction. So little is known about these majestic creatures of the deep, as we see and know so little about these gentle giants of the ocean.

Projects under consideration: 

– A global whale tracking database and app that uses consumer data to support knowledge about whales and their journeys in the ocean around the world

Humpback mother and calf, with a snorkeler, in Tonga.

Threat 2: Unsustainable Tourism

When vessels are present, whales hunt less and travel more. Noise interference from vessels, as well as from industrial and military activities, interrupts the whales’ ability to use sound, which in turn disturbs their feeding, communication, and orientation.

Projects under consideration: 

– Funding and set up of the Whale Heritage Site for the Azores
– To be announced

Blue whale

Threat 3: Plastic waste

Single use is plastic is everywhere. And when they are done, inevitably it will end up in the ocean. Up to 31% of plastic exported from Europe for recycling doesn’t end up being recycled, a new study estimates (source World Economic Forum). It is estimated that over 8 millions metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year (source: National Geographic.)

Projects under consideration: 

– Support to Tidy Shark
– To be announced

tidy-shark

Threat 4: Ghost nets

Entanglement in Fishing Gear and ghost netting is one of the most serious issues facing whales in the ocean. Whales are at high risk of becoming entangled in fishing gear. Once entangled, whales may drag and swim with attached gear for long distances or be anchored in place and unable to swim. Events such as these result in fatigue, and ultimately lead to death.

Projects under consideration: 

– Ghost net app build to track netting that can then be picked up by larger vessels at a later date
– Organising the joining the global ghost net clean up scheme

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Threat 5: Lack of Food

Overfishing and habitat loss have decreased the amount of prey available to the whales. Without enough prey, whales might experience decreased reproductive rates and increased mortality rates.

Projects under consideration

– To be announced
– To be announced

shutdown-animals-1-21-18

Threat 6: Pollution

Contaminants enter ocean waters and sediments from many sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, sewer outfalls, and pesticide application. Once in the environment, these substances move up the food web and accumulate in all cetaceans, including whales, because of their long lifespan, position at the top of the food chain, and blubber stores.

Projects under consideration: 

– To be announced
– To be announced

Humpback mother and calf, with a snorkeler, in Tonga.