An interdisciplinary approach to the management of whale ship collisions
par Maxime SEBE, UBO, EDSM, AMURE
Collisions with ships are one of the main modern threats to whale survival. Several solutions exist to reduce the risk of collision, but the compliance of the shipping industry with them is often limited. This interdisciplinary thesis aims at understanding the economic, logistic, and ecological gaps that hinder the shipping industry’s compliance. The research question is the following: How to integrate human and ecological dimensions in a standardized process to better manage whale-ship collisions? To answer this question, this thesis aims at (1) defining a standardized assessment process for mitigation solutions; (2) investigating the economic and logistic dimensions needed to achieve a holistic assessment of the whale-ship collision issue. The International Maritime Organization has the potential to improve whale protection from ship strikes, and we investigate its risk assessment framework, namely the Formal Safety Assessment. Based on the identified gap within this framework, our research first explores the notion of acceptable risk within the shipping industry and conservation science. Then, we investigate the preferences of the shipping industry for mitigation solutions, and study the economic benefits of avoiding collisions, through avoided costs and risk evaluation criterion. By creating a bridge between economics and ecology, this manuscript improves the mutual understanding of the shipping industry and conservation science. This work could be used as guidelines for the proposal of solutions, leading to an increased compliance of the shipping companies, and, therefore, an improved protection of whales.