Navigating Whale Habitat: A New Tool Kit for the Maritime Industry

Rivière-du-Loup, QC, May 18, 2021 – 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.

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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.

About WWF-Canada
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

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.

Sonia Giroux, MMON: 581-673-1384 /
Laurence Cayer-Desrosiers, WWF-Canada: 514-703-2409 /