Projects to address key Threats

The ocean Azores Foundation was set up to work to address the 5 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.

Ocean Azores Foundation

PRT 2: Golfinho Commission

PRT 4: Ghost nets

PRT 5: Whale Heritage Site

Threat 1: Lack of Awareness
Project: 1 Oceano

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.

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

Threat 2: Unsustainable Tourism
Project: The Golfino Commission

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.

Threat 3: Plastic waste
Project: Tidy Shark

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.)


Threat 4: Ghost nets
Project: Ghost Net App

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.

Threat 5: Noise Pollution
Project: Whale Heritage Site

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.

fish nets