Protecting whales in the Hauraki Gulf

Port of Auckland introduced the initiative to protect the whales three years ago Port of Auckland introduced the initiative to protect the whales three years ago
Industry Database

An initiative to reduce ship speeds in the Hauraki Gulf is making strong progress in its efforts to protect the local whale population.

Port of Auckland introduced the initiative three years ago, and has reported that ship speeds are down 25% while there have been no reported whale deaths in the past two years.

Tony Gibson, Ports of Auckland’s chief executive, said: “Operating sustainably and minimising our impact on the environment is very important to us.”

“The Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana is not just an important shipping route, it is a home for wildlife and a precious taonga. We take very seriously our responsibility to preserve the Gulf for future generations which includes helping to protect our local population of Byrde’s whales.”

In September 2013, Ports of Auckland, in collaboration with the shipping industry, developed a voluntary protocol aimed at reducing the number of collisions between whales and ships.

The voluntary protocol has four key elements. Ships were asked to travel as close to 10 knots as their schedule allows, use the recommended approach route to the Ports of Auckland and keep watch for whales and take avoiding action if whales are sighted. As well as report whale sightings to Ports of Auckland Harbour Control.

The protocol is founded upon scientific evidence showing that 10 knots is a safer travelling speed around whales, but it is also designed to allow flexibility when schedules are affected by weather, for example.

Dr Rochelle Constantine from the University of Auckland, added: “the development of an inclusive, multi-agency process supported by good science allowed a rapid response to protect our resident whales.”

She concluded: “The mortality rate of this small population of whales was probably unsustainable prior to the shipping industry’s commitment to slow down, but now these whales have a more certain future and I am pleased we achieved this result.”

Featured Videos


Intermodal Europe 2018 steers the way for the global container shipping industry

With the global container shipping market currently estimated to be worth $4 trillion and representi... Read more

Global shipping industry faces calls to reduce emissions

The 2018 GreenPort Congress conference invites industry experts to discuss the reduction of emission... Read more

Experts Highlight Viable Power and Propulsion Solutions for Next Generation Vessels

Lithium-ion battery expert Dr John Warner is presenting at the NEXT GENERATION Marine Power & Propul... Read more

AMRO– A Focus On Reducing Environmental Impacts In The Marine Environment

AMRO, a specialist marine equipment and services provider operating out of the GCC, has recently eng... Read more


Ninth Consecutive “Excellent” Coast Guard Security Assessment Awarded to Port of Baltimore Read more


Containers and Autos Lead The Way As Port Business Continues to Surge Read more

View all