Slow down for Whales

Ships are being asked to slow down for whales in the Hauraki Gulf.

Ports of Auckland will ask ships to slow down in and out of the harbour to save endangered whales in the Hauraki Gulf.

The gulf is home to fewer than 200 adult Bryde’s whales. On average about two a year are found dead, many from vessel-strike. Ports of Auckland will soon be asking visiting ships to slow to 10 knots in the gulf. If that doesn’t work, they could be forced to slow down.

Hauraki Gulf Forum chairman John Tregidga said lower speed drastically reduced whale deaths.

“Most ships are doing around 12 or 14 knots so we aren’t asking much.” 

Tregidga was positive that the measures would work and be complied with by the shipping industry.

“We will monitor the speed of every ship coming in. If the shipping industry don’t reduce speed, and we continue to have two deaths a year, we will look at regulatory ways of reducing speed limits.”

That will cost time and money, and all for just a few whales.

In 17 years, 43 whale bodies had been recovered . Of those, 19 had been examined and 16 had died from vessel-strike.

Fully grown whales spent 90 per cent of their time within 12m of the water’s surface, making them particularly vulnerable.

Constantine encouraged boaties to report whale sightings to the port so ships could be advised.


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  • SteveWrathall

    What species of “endangered” whales are we talking about? With so many running into ships they must be pretty common.

    • rangitoto

      The article says Bryde’s whales. I have sometimes seen them when fishing out on the gulf.

    • rangitoto

      The article says Bryde’s whales. I have sometimes seen them when fishing out on the gulf.

  • conwaycaptain

    A ship’s bulbous bow produces a pressure wave and the whales cannot hear sound emanating from behind that wave.
    This is also a problem for subs operating in crowded waters like the English Channel etc.
    The safe depth now for a sub is in excess of 200 feet or 65 metres.

    • Whafe

      I truly enjoy the facts etc you bring forward conwaycaptain on not only all things shipping etc…..
      This blog enlightens me constantly, yeah ha

    • GregM

      Of course the other problem is that large ship engines don’t like running slow.
      Dropping the engine from 108 rpm to ( say ) 70 rpm is really not good for it.

  • expression07

    Natural selection.

  • Marty

    Cam should take note and stick to shooting goats and leave his Speedos behind.

  • Ronnie Chow

    Police boats with radar . That will be a $2,000 fine and 400 demerit points , Captain Speedy Gonzales .

  • maninblack

    The whales should speed up.

  • Sounds like the whales need to look where they’re going.