Researchers have been able to track eight fin whales in near-real-time as they swim along a stretch of fiber optic cable off Norway’s Arctic archipelago of Svalbard for the first time using Distributed Acoustic Sensing technology. The researchers were able to locate the whales over an area of 1,800km² with an accuracy of about 100 meters. The cables, when used to monitor whale traffic, could help reduce the possibility of ship strikes, researchers said. Coupled with ship detection, a real-time collision-avoidance system could be developed that would reduce ship attacks.
The researchers collected 40 days of recordings and around 250TB of data in June 2020, using it to identify more than 800 whale songs and calls. The development comes as NORDUnet, the Nordic Gateway for Research and Innovation, and the Nordic NRENs plan to build a shorter transit time route through the Arctic Ocean to launch a series of initiatives to study the first undersea fiber optic cable system between Europe, Asia and North America. If successful, the initiative would open up larger areas in the Arctic for whale movement tracking, according to Martin Landrø, head of NTNU’s Center for Geophysical Prognosis.
Tags: Fin whale