Delphi & I spent the first remarkable week of a work trip to Brazil to further our efforts in
the mitigation of ship strikes on whales on the long coastline of this vast nation.
From Serra Negra, we moved on with Marcel at the helm through the very impressive Atlantic Forest down to the coast at Sao Sebastiao, and then by ferry over to the stunning mountainous island of Ilhabela.
Here we met our host and companion for the remainder of the trip, Jose Truda, from the Instituto Baleia Jubarte and their local citizen science expert Julio Cardoso. The following day all of us went to a formal meeting at the largest oil terminal/port in all of Latin America run by Trans Petro which is a part of the Brazilian giant oil company of Petrobras. This port receives oil, processes oil, and exports oil. It is enormous, and all of this happens in and around waters full of whales (humpbacks, Southern right, and Brydes) for part of the year, and full of people that love these whales.
Here the GWC's Whale Guardians™ Program made a seven-page proposal to direct ships into and out of port in the safest manner accessible, so as to minimize to the greatest extent possible any and all unintentional strikes on whales in the future.
Trans Petro had all their managers both local and regional present, and they welcomed our team warmly and with much gratitude. They actually were thankful to us all for giving them the opportunity with our expertise to be the best stewards they could be for the whales of their region.
They then gave us a full tour (hard hats and all) of the entire complex while explaining how everything worked.
The TransPetro Terminal openly accepted Whale Guardians™ Official Guidelines.
We then all proceeded to the entrance of their very large complex where they have a historical timeline of the development of the port from breaking ground many years ago to today.
There I handed them the proposal, and they added its implementation and a picture of a humpback (taken by Julio) to the timeline on the wall.
Honesty after working so hard for so many years I had to tell myself countless times during this truly remarkable day that I was in fact not dreaming. The best part of this all is finally in this beautiful region we are saving large whale lives! Michael Fishbach
The trailer is linked here, full video coming soon!
After a short but sweet meeting with Luciano Candisani who is a passionate and talented photographer and a fierce defender of Brazil's unique Pantanal region, and a long wind delay to catch the car ferry back to the continent, we moved on to catch our flight to Vitoria. to meet with shipping companies and save more whale lives.