The focus of this report is the Eastern Pacific Ocean where there are growing risks and conservation opportunities for whales undertaking oceanic migrations over thousands of kilometers. The productive oceanographic conditions, features and currents of the Eastern Pacific Ocean support a wealth of great whale populations.
Climate change, ship traffic, underwater noise and fishing activity are impacting whales along multiple points on their important migration routes, crucial for their survival. WWF and partners have identified actions for governments, industry and individuals to safeguard whale superhighways across the Eastern Pacific Ocean by 2030.
In 2022, drawing on the latest scientific evidence from years of satellite tracking data and knowledge from the global research community, WWF and its partners – including the University of California Santa Cruz, Oregon State University, University of Southampton and many others – compiled over thirty years of data to map routes of migratory whales as they move through international waters, national seas and coastal areas, between key breeding and foraging locations.
The analysis in this report focuses on the Eastern Pacific Ocean, from the Bering Strait to the Antarctic Peninsula. It draws on a conservation practice already widely used on land known as “connectivity conservation” but applies it to the world’s seas. Connectivity conservation is a concept that recognizes that species survive and adapt better when their habitats are managed and protected as large, interconnected networks.
Based on satellite tracking, photo identification and other data sources, the report illustrates case studies of emerging blue corridors for whales and some hotspots where there is growing human interference. The report highlights conservation opportunities and ideas to implement solutions.