Canadian Ferry Operator Joins Whale Watching Initiative
The crew of the Traverse Trois-Pistoles - Les Escoumins ferry system is proud to participate in St. Lawrence River whale conservation by joining the ranks of observer members at the Réseau d’observation des mammifères marins (ROMM), a key marine mammal observation network.
After completing a ROMM biologist’s training either during the season’s first crossing on June 28 or more recently this past August 1, the navigating crews are now qualified to collect observation data to enrich the existing knowledge about the presence of whales along the ferry’s regular transit between Trois-Pistoles and Les Escoumins. A number of observations have already been sent to ROMM.
"We are happy to be able to contribute to the data collection on the marine mammals that brighten our days with their presence throughout the season. This collection requires minimal effort by us, but we are keenly aware that the involvement of waterway transporters helps scientists to better understand the whales’ way of life while limiting the cost of research vessel travel," emphasizes Jean-Philippe Rioux, Chief Officer of l’Héritage I ferry.
ROMM initially engaged the maritime industry to collect data on marine mammals in 2015 in collaboration with Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines (CSL). Green Marine subsequently joined the project to facilitate networking between the conservation sphere and ship owners and to develop observation training and data collection tools. “It’s great to have two other players confirm their participation in the project this summer, specifically the Traverse Trois-Pistoles - Les Escoumins ferry service belonging to the Basques navigation company, and the Matane - Bay-Comeau - Godbout routes of the Quebec ferry service, la Société de traversiers Québec,” says Ester Blier, ROMM’s executive director.
“Negotiations with other significant maritime industry players are under way to encourage them to expand the member ranks of this project,” adds Véronique Nolet, Green Marine’s program manager. The increasingly strong interest of several maritime industry players in whale conservation is unquestionably a good thing. Their participation enriches the knowledge about the presence of whales in the St. Lawrence. The approximately 700 observations registered to date have been posted for public reference on the St. Lawrence Global Observatory’s website at www.slgo.ca. This project has been made possible thanks to funding by the Government of Canada through its Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) for species at risk.
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