Protecting whales is important for everyone's health
By Mercy Ramos
Whales are, like any other animal or forest species, of great importance for life as they fertilize marine ecosystems, while helping to combat the climate crisis because, on average, a single specimen is capable of confining the same amount of carbon as the equivalent of a thousand trees.
Because of these and other benefits they provide, it is essential to preserve them. That is why since July 23, 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) decided to proclaim this day as World Day Against Whaling, currently known as World Whale and Dolphin Day, whose main purpose is to stop the indiscriminate hunting of these animals, which are in danger of extinction.
Another of the dangers to which they are exposed is the collision of whaling ships, cargo ships or cruise ships against these specimens, which, according to experts, are estimated to be about 20 thousand those beaten and killed for that reason every year.
Fatal crash rates in high-risk areas have nearly doubled in the past 40 years and whale populations have declined by 50%. This has motivated the Friend of the Sea Foundation to launch a program to prevent these fatal accidents and to stimulate maritime operators to take action to reduce such accidents.
This project consists of granting the Whale-Safe label to those who adopt concrete measures to prevent ship collisions, which, among others, include a combination of thermal cameras, online service delivery systems and changes in navigation routes.
Paolo Bray, founder and director of Friend of the Sea, believes that the label "will finally help maritime operators committed to protecting whales to stand out to their commercial clients and consumers." According to scientists, there are 13 species of whales in the world, of which seven have been reported in the Caribbean and three of them have beached or have been sighted in Cuba, especially on the south coast, probably due to the effect of the currents that enter the Gulf through the Caribbean Sea and leave the north coast towards the Atlantic.
Although perhaps less seen in the Caribbean, whales live in all the world's oceans and seas and many of them, mainly the largest, travel from one place to another at certain times of the year.
Therefore, the need for all people to know the important role they play in nature so that they create awareness of the importance of caring for them.