Projects

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE

The Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON) is very active in conservation, raising awareness and promoting the protection of the marine environment and the organisms that live there.
Building our knowledge is an important part of MMON’s activities. The knowledge-acquisition projects currently underway focus on collecting data on the presence of marine mammals in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence and describing the observation activities on these waters.
MMON’s network of observer-members plays an important role in this area as well.
Over the years, MMON has diversified its services and developed broader expertise encompassing various aspects of the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Marine mammal data collection project for the maritime shipping industry – Desgagnés fleet activity report (2015 to date).

Characterization of marine mammal populations and observation activities in the Gaspésie (2006 to date) and on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary (2014 to date).

Study of marine mammal activity from land-based observation sites on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary (Rivière-du-Loup and Cacouna) and from the Rivière-du-Loup–Saint-Siméon ferry (2014 to date).

Preparation of a report describing observation activities at the American Bank, an Area of Interest (AOI) off the Gaspésie coast (2015-2016).

Characterization of recreational diving activities and their impacts on the natural environment and seabed around Bonaventure Island (2010-2012).

Study of the harbour seals of the Petit-Gaspé rookery, in collaboration with Université Laval and Forillon National Park (2010-2012).

Collection of indigenous knowledge of at-risk marine species from the Innu, Maliseet and Micmac communities (2007-2008).

Testing and characterization of proposed solutions to reduce problems involving seals and the eel fisheries of the St. Lawrence Estuary (2006-2007).

Assessment of the scope of issues related to interactions between seals and fishing activities in the St. Lawrence Estuary (2004-2005).

EDUCATION AND AWARENESS

The Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON) is very active in conservation, raising awareness and promoting the protection of the marine environment and the organisms that live there.
Education and awareness programs are a major component of MMON’s activities. The goal is to involve as many people as possible from various backgrounds in efforts to protect our marine resources, particularly marine mammals and other species at risk.
Over the years, the MMON team has carried out numerous projects including the construction of its interpretation centre, the St. Lawrence exploration center.
The team regularly leads workshops and staffs information booths, as well as offering lectures to a varied clientele. MMON also acts as the St. Lawrence Ambassador to the David Suzuki Foundation.

Distribution of an information kit for sea-kayak tour companies on the southern shore of the Estuary, explaining the status of St. Lawrence belugas and good navigation practices when they are present (2017).

Participation in the series Le fleuve aux 1000 vagues hosted by Marc Larouche and broadcast on MAtv. The program presented a series of reports on the biodiversity of the St. Lawrence, as well as covering economic issues and tourism (2016).

Creation and coordination of activities for an interpretation program aboard the Bella Desgagnés, a passenger and cargo ship operated by Relais Nordik that transports passengers and supplies for the Lower North Shore region. Management and supervision of interpretive guides (2016 to date).

Participation in Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s “Show you care, keep your distance” awareness-raising campaign for boaters on best practices for navigation around beluga whales (2015 to date).

Preparation and distribution of an interpretation kit on the at-risk marine species of the St. Lawrence for naturalist-guides of whale-watching cruise operators in the Gaspésie (2009-2010; updated in 2015).

Establishment and management of the Station exploratoire du Saint-Laurent, an educational centre about the marine environment, situated in Parc de la Pointe in Rivière-du-Loup (2008 to date).

Clean-up of the seabed at the Percé and Grande-Grave dock to rehabilitate fish habitat disturbed by mackerel sport fishing in the Gaspésie. Installation of information panels to raise awareness about the issues and solutions (2014).

Realization of an educational campaign on eco-friendly boating in the Estuary and a portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect marine mammals (2010-2012).

Production of a training DVD on identification of marine mammals and good whale-watching practices in the St. Lawrence for the whale-watching industry in maritime Québec (2011-2012).

Creation of a short film on good scuba diving practices, in collaboration with the Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé and the Club Nautique de Percé (2011-2012).

Implementation of an awareness-raising campaign (Pour un Saint-Laurent bien vivant, ne jetons rien dedans!) to encourage college students to become responsible consumers and properly dispose of their refuse (2009-2010).

Development of an awareness-raising poster on appropriate behaviour for visitors to Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the Gaspé Peninsula (2010-2011).

Preparation and distribution of an educational kit for fishermen from the First Nations to assist them in identifying at-risk marine species and encourage them to adopt appropriate behaviour when those species are present (2008-2009).

Educational and awareness-raising tour of primary schools on at-risk marine mammals and preparation of an educational kit distributed and used in several regions of maritime Québec and in the Quebec City area (2001-2007).

MANAGING MARINE RESOURCES

The Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON) is involved in integrated management of the St. Lawrence in partnership with a number of well-known companies and organizations.
Implementing an ecosystem approach, MMON has joined forces with various working groups to ensure that the marine environment of the St. Lawrence and the organisms that live there are adequately represented, while taking into account the social and economic interests of the regions involved.
The development of tourism in maritime Québec is also an issue MMON focuses on.
In short, integrated management of the St. Lawrence fosters sustainable development and promotes marine ecotourism in the region.

Participation in the Working Group on Marine Traffic and Protection of Marine Mammals in the St. Lawrence Estuary, co-chaired by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada, in collaboration with numerous partners (2016 to date).

Member of the Table de Concertation Régionale (TCR) du Sud de l’estuaire moyen (regional consultation panel for the central southern estuary, known as the Conseil du Saint-Laurent), which focuses on major regional issues, working toward optimal integrated management throughout the St. Lawrence (2014 to date).

Preparation and provision of training for marine mammal observers and passive acoustic monitoring for worksites in the marine environment, in collaboration with the École des pêches et de l’Aquaculture du Québec (2012 to date).

Supervision of marine mammal observers as part of various monitoring programs set up for worksites in the marine environment (2012 to date).

Creation of a guide to the cetaceans of the northwest Atlantic for the marine industry, in collaboration with the Shipping Federation of Canada and Dalhousie University (2011-2013).

Co-manager for development of the Parc maritime de la Pointe, led by the city of Rivière-du-Loup, and co-manager of the Camping municipal de la Pointe (2010 to date).

Coordinator of the development committee and developer of the Haltes marines of the Route des Navigateurs, a network of maritime interpretation sites in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region (2009-2011).

Consultation panel on the harbor seal, preparation of an action plan for its recovery (2002-2004), and status report on the species in the St. Lawrence Estuary (2001-2002).

Responder for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network since its creation.