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Modelling of the Acoustic Environment and Interactions Between Whales and Ships in the St. Lawrence Estuary

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    Jérôme Dupras Université du Québec en Outaouais

Addressing the complex interactions between shipping and whales in the St. Lawrence Estuary by integrating underwater sound propagation into the 3MTSim simulator.

Several activities from this project have impacted society.

  • The presentations at academic conferences and workshops have raised awareness to various academic, industrial and professional actors of the sector.
  • With the other two teams working on marine acoustics in the MEOPAR network, a pan-Canadian workshop was organized that brought together many actors from various fields. This activity has allowed networking within MEOPAR and designing new research projects. In this regard, two grant applications that resulted from this workshop (SSHRC and NSERC - with an industrial partner, JASCO) have been submitted. This workshop also enabled two days of knowledge transfer activities with private and public sector stakeholders.
  • Team members had a central role in the Working Group on Marine Traffic and Protection of Marine Mammals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (G2T3M), which helped propose concrete solutions to reduce the shipping traffic-related risks (to which marine mammals are exposed) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while allowing activities of the Merchant Marine without compromising safety.

Benefits arising from the MEOPAR network connection include; HQP training, access to GIS tools and databases, and networking among researchers.

Partners:

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada - IML - Quebec
  • Group for Research & Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM)

Investigators:

  • Guy Cantin Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Jean Desaulniers Parks Canada
  • Jacques Landry École de technologie supérieure
  • Veronique Lesage Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Ian McQuinn Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Robert Michaud Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals
  • Lael Parrott University of British Colombia

MEOPeers:

  • Clement Chion Université du Québec en Outaouais

The desired outcome is to create a decision aid tool, capable of simultaneously assessing various marine transport management scenarios in the St. Lawrence estuary (e.g. modification of shipping lanes, reduced speed zones, avoidance zones) on the basis of the three following criteria: 1) the risk of fatal collisions between shifts and large whales; 2) exposure of large whales and belugas to underwater noise; 3) impacts on commercial shipping (e.g. transit times).