Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, June 24, 2024

Fujistso and Mizuho Deploy GenAI to Track Trends in Humpback Whale Migration 

Fujitsu and Mizuho Financial Group have partnered to track trends in humpback whale migration and promote sustainable tourism for Hachijo Island, a popular tourist destination. The island features historical remnants from different periods of Japanese history and stunning views of the dormant volcano Hachijō-Fuji. 

The primary goal of the project is to conserve the island's natural beauty and ecosystem while allowing residents and visitors to enjoy the island’s precious resources. The project will proceed per the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's “Tokyo Treasure Island Sustainable Island Creation Project”, which aims to promote sustainable development and enhance the quality of life on Tokyo Islands. 

As the only financial institution on the island, Mizuho is leveraging its expertise in finance and digital technology to tackle regional issues and help realize a “smart island”. Mizuho is promoting various projects aimed at improving digitalization, tourism, and government processes on the islands.   

As part of the collaboration, Fujitsu’s state-of-the-art AI-based image recognition technology will be deployed in a pilot program to better understand humpback whale migration trends in the area. The data from the program will also be used to promote ethical tourism on Hachijo Island. 

Fujitsu's AI model for the program has been trained with the migration patterns of humpback whales. Using data from multiple fixed-point cameras on the island, Fujitsu and its partners will analyze the data to verify the feasibility of humpback whale detection. The project is scheduled to run from May 2024 to October 2024 and may be extended for verification of results. 

The humpback whale population suffered a devastating decline before commercial whaling was banned in 1985. The species were extensively hunted for oil, meat, baleen, and other whale products. 

The Japanese waters are renowned for humpback whale encounters, but the sightings have dropped dramatically. Traditional ecological surveys were done manually, which had several limitations including logistical constraints, risk of observer bias, or interpretation errors. 

Some estimates suggest that the humpback whale population declined by as much as 95% from pre-whaling levels due to overexploitation. While the species has made a slight comeback in terms of population, they still remain endangered. 

Shutterstock/Ozrimoz

Having a deeper understanding of their migration patterns can boost conservation efforts and allow authorities to make more informed decisions regarding maritime traffic and fishing regulations. Additionally, the migration data can enable scientists to better grasp whale biology and ecology, and the impact of climate change on the health of the marine ecosystem. 

Now with Fujitsu’s AI technology, researchers are equipped with more powerful tools for biodiversity and ecological surveys. Not only does this improve the efficiency and scalability of the process, but also increases the consistency of data. We hope that with more precise and reliable data, researchers and authorities can make more informed decisions to protect and preserve our planet and its inhabitants. 

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