It has long been known that ship strikes involving large vessels pose one of the greatest threats to North Atlantic right whales, whose coastal habitats and tendency to stay close to the water’s surface make them vulnerable to such deadly collisions.
New research by Dal scientists suggests that the endangered animals can also suffer fatal injuries if struck by small boats or by large vessels travelling at slow speeds.
“We’ve shown clearly that small vessels can be a threat to whales. We’ve shown that very light, but fast-moving vessels like trans-oceanic racing sailboats can cause potentially lethal injuries to whales, so it means if you’re in a vessel on the ocean, you may be a threat to these animals,” says Sean Brillant, an adjunct in the Department of Oceanography.
“We also showed that there is indeed no safe