Shell funded research for more than a decade into the behaviour of humpback whales in the South Atlantic, which has given scientists unprecedented insights.
Before the research project began in 2003, little was known about the routes they used during their long migration to and from cold waters near Antarctica. Electronic tagging showed the whales regularly swim along the north-east coast of South America almost as far north as the Equator.
“Our studies revealed that the routes used by whales most frequently along the Brazilian coast do not correspond to the areas of exploration and production of oil,” says Alexandre Zerbini, Director of the Scientific Institute Aqualie, a Brazilian non-profit organisation.
In the waters off Brazil, the humpback whales migrate close to the beaches, where water is up to 500 metres deep, whereas most platforms are located far from the coast.