‘Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies’ is a vessel speed reduction programme, bringing government, corporations and local air quality boards together to protect blue whales from ship strikes and, in return, improving air quality and reducing noise pollution for all ocean wildlife. Started in 2014, it was slow at first to get shipping companies to comply but, every year since, more and more companies are partaking in this important initiative.
In 2021, participating vessels reduced speeds for approximately 60% of their voyages, indicating vessel operators' continued commitment to ship more sustainably. 23 shipping companies participated in the programme in 2022.Cooperation has steadily increased season after season, demonstrating the increasing commitment by the participating companies over the years.
Shipping companies that participated in the 2022 programme reduced their air pollutant emissions by approximately 27% compared to baseline conditions.
The participating vessels were estimated to pose approximately 44% less strike mortality risk to whales than if those vessels did not slow in cooperation with the programme.