According to them, human activities are impacting the important oceanic areas that cetaceans rely on for feeding, mating, and giving birth.
The scientific community and the Colombia branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have jointly called for urgent action to safeguard the whale migration routes in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
According to Chris Johnson, the global leader for whale and dolphin conservation at WWF, these marine mammals rely on significant oceanic regions to fulfill various essential activities, including feeding, mating, giving birth, nursing their young, socializing, and migrating. However, they face mounting pressure due to various human activities, which are causing a negative impact on their well-being.
The latest report from the organization reveals that the migratory routes of whales, also known as “blue corridors,” span from the Bering Strait in Alaska to the Antarctic Peninsula at the southernmost tip of the American continent. These routes serve as the primary passage for 12 out of the 14 species of “great whales” during their migration, with the eastern Pacific serving as the core region.
Between the months of July and November, the Pacific waters at Nuquí, Bahía Solano, Bahía Málaga, Gorgona Island, and Tumaco become the migration route for humpback whales in Colombia. This species is the most commonly recognized cetacean in the country. The significance of these routes for the whales’ survival necessitates an urgent appeal for cooperation to protect them, emphasized Johnson. He also stressed the crucial role of whale populations in enhancing marine productivity and carbon sequestration in the oceans.
WWF has stated that in addition to commercial hunting, which almost brought several whale species to the brink of extinction after capturing approximately three million whales in the 20th century, new dangers are now emerging that make migratory routes an increasingly perilous place to navigate. One of the most pressing threats is the impact of climate change, especially on cetaceans in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where many of them depend on sea ice and related ecosystems for survival.
The report also highlights the issue of incidental catches in fishing gear and ghost nets, which pose a severe threat to the survival of marine megafauna. This category includes not only various species and populations of marine mammals but also turtles, sharks, and rays worldwide. Another major issue is the proliferation of offshore oil and gas infrastructure, which results in underwater noise pollution and the possibility of oil spills, both of which affect the whales and their prey. These activities are often associated with exploration and extraction activities, further compounding the problem.
Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica sign agreement
The environment ministers of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica have signed a significant environmental agreement to safeguard the shared marine corridor in the Pacific Ocean. The corridor will include the most notable island territories of the four countries involved.
The marine corridor will encompass several iconic island territories, including Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica’s Coco Island, Panama’s Coiba Island, and Colombia’s Gorgona and Malpelo Islands. All of these islands are recognized as natural national parks or sanctuaries for flora and fauna in their respective countries.
Colombian Minister Susana stated that the signing of this agreement reaffirms the countries’ commitment to work towards an international treaty and implement measures to protect the strategic area, particularly in terms of fishing, biodiversity, and tourism. The countries will establish a permanent technical secretariat to facilitate collaborative efforts to maintain the entire corridor as one of the most significant maritime areas worldwide.