Learn about BLUE BOAT Initiative

About Blue Boat

To date, no global effort has considered the importance of the ocean as a carbon sink nor the key ecological role that whales play in mitigating climate change.

Whales contribute to the removal of carbon from the atmosphere through the accumulation of large amounts of carbon in their bodies. Once they die, they usually sink to the bottom of the sea. A single 40-ton gray whale is capable of absorbing two tons of carbon, which could be trapped on the sea floor for more than 2,000 years.

The Role of Oceans
in Climate Change

All the inhabitants of the planet depend directly or indirectly on the oceans, as they provide 55% of the oxygen we breathe and are an important source of resources, such as energy, food, medicine, transportation, tourism, among others. In addition, they act as thermoregulators, since they absorb a thousand times more heat than the atmosphere, and redistribute it through the ocean currents.


The Blue BOAT Initiative (Buoy Oceanographic Alert Technology / Tecnología de Alerta de Boyas Oceanográficas) es un proyecto nacional conjunto entre el Ministerio del Medio Ambiente de Chile y Fundación MERI, que busca conservar y proteger a las ballenas, a la vez que monitorear los océanos, estudiando y valorizando los servicios ecosistémicos marinos, en particular aquellos asociados al rol de las ballenas en la captura del CO2, necesarios para enfrentar el cambio climático.

Una de las principales amenazas para las ballenas es el tráfico marítimo, debido a las lesiones e incluso varamientos producidos por las colisiones, y al ruido que generan las embarcaciones, el cual provoca lesiones auditivas y pérdida de probabilidad de comunicación, entre otras consecuencias.

The Blue BOAT Initiative es un complejo sistema de alerta temprana de presencia de ballenas para las embarcaciones, que incluye una red de boyas inteligentes, un sistema de monitoreo acústico pasivo y oceanográfico, y que se añade a protocolos previamente establecidos que protegen a las ballenas en rutas de tráfico marítimo.

The Blue BOAT Initiative will begin in the Chilean Patagonia, in the Gulf of Corcovado, an area that holds the largest number of blue whales, to then cover the rest of the country. This project seeks to be replicable at a regional level along the Pacific, in order to protect the whales along their migratory routes.

Ecosystem Engineers

Whales transport nutrients and improve the productivity of the ecosystem. They also help to reduce the stock of CO2 in the atmosphere, first by stimulating the appearance of phytoplankton, and second by accumulating large amounts of carbon in their bodies, which they take to the bottom of the sea when they die, making the ocean the largest store of CO2 in the ecosystem.

Let’s make the importance of whales in climate change mitigation visible.

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