The joint initiative between the Chilean Environment Ministry and Fundación MERI is the first of its kind in South America.
Installed in Corcovado Gulf, offshore of Chiloé Island, the buoy is part of The Blue BOAT Initiative, an ocean conservation project that helps protect whales and marine biodiversity in the waters of Chilean Patagonia.
The smart buoy, called ‘Suyai,’ is part of a whale early warning system for South America. Thanks to its sophisticated technology, the buoy will detect whales in the sea and send real time notifications to the Chilean Navy, which in turn will notify nearby vessels in order to reduce the risk of collisions, the leading cause of death of these animals.
“Whales are true ecosystem engineers, a cornerstone species for the wellbeing of our oceans and for the fight against climate change. So the installation of this buoy is very good news, because it will enable us to better protect these creatures. This early warning system will help us to prevent collisions between these whales and ships sailing through the area. Let’s keep in mind that at least 10% of the entire global population of blue whales is present in this zone. Our commitment to biodiversity and the planet at large is to provide the greatest protection we can,” affirmed Environment Minister Maisa Rojas.
The next step is to replicate the project in other zones to create a safe marine corridor for these whales to travel through. In fact, due to its magnitude and scalability, The Blue BOAT Initiative was presented by Chilean Chancellor Antonia Urrejola as one of the country’s concrete ocean protection commitments for 2022-2023 at the 2022 Our Ocean Conference in Palau.
In order to spotlight this milestone in the international community, Imagen de Chile sent correspondents from El País, Reuters and Al Jazeera to cover the buoy’s installation and startup, allowing the journalists to gain first-hand knowledge of the project and the people involved in making it happen.
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