Navigating Whale Habitat: A New Tool Kit for the Maritime Industry
RIVIÈRE-DU-LOUP, Quebec, May 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — To help avoid ship collisions with whales, a new tool kit for mariners operating in the Northwest Atlantic, including the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, has been developed. The Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON), World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) and the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) created the tool kit in collaboration with government partners and the maritime industry to guide best practices, improve data collection, identify high risk areas, and improve whale protection and navigation safety in the future.
The online platform Navigating Whale Habitat features the various tools, including whale identification and data collection training, a protocol and data entry and visualization tool, as well as the revised edition of A Mariner’s Guide to Whales in the Northwest Atlantic.
“The MMON teamed up with Green Marine in 2016 in order to involve ship owners and operators in collecting whale data. Currently, more than ten different companies with a combined fleet of over 60 ships participate in the program. These new tools were essential to better organize the collection and management of data, ensure appropriate training for participating crews, address the needs expressed by the industry and involve new members,” explains MMON General Director Esther Blier.
“The impacts of shipping – that is, the risks of collision, underwater noise and pollution – are major threats to the recovery of a number of endangered whale species such as the North Atlantic right whale, blue whale and St. Lawrence beluga. With these new tools, we are supporting the maritime industry’s involvement in the conservation of these species by facilitating the gathering of essential information while heightening mariners’ level of alertness to the presence of cetaceans in shipping channels,” points out Aurélie Cosandey-Godin, Senior Specialist in Marine Ecosystems and Sustainable Shipping for WWF-Canada.
“The St. Lawrence Global Observatory is proud to collaborate in this initiative and to contribute to marine mammal protection through the development of an online platform and a user-friendly observation data entry tool for the maritime industry,” states SLGO General Director Andréane Bastien.
This initiative is made possible in part thanks to funding received under Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for Species at Risk.
We would also like to thank the numerous partners that are actively participating in this initiative: St. Lawrence Shipoperators, Green Marine, CSL Group (Canada Steamship Lines), Groupe Desgagnés, Shipping Federation of Canada, Fednav, Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.
To see the list of shipowners who collect data on marine mammals sightings through this program, click here: Observer members – MMON.
About the Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON)
Based in Rivière-du-Loup, the MMON is a non-profit organization that has been working for the conservation and promotion of the St. Lawrence and its fauna since 1998. With its integrated management approach, the organization collaborates with various players in the marine industry to involve them in a coordinated effort to preserve marine ecosystems. www.romm.ca
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.
About the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO)
Created in 2005, the St. Lawrence Global Observatory is a non-profit organization that provides integrated, timely access to data in an effort to contribute to the sustainable management of the St. Lawrence. www.ogsl.ca/en/home-slgo/