University of Montreal researchers have developed software that helps regulators to evaluate the ecological and economic implications of marine mammal conservation, whale watching, and marine transportation activities in the Saint Lawrence estuary.
"The objective is to reduce the collision risk with whales while taking into account the impact on industry and marine transportation," says Montreal's Lael Parrott.
The program maps the estuary, simulating the movements of five mammal species, the presence and movements of different types of boats, and the environmental conditions. The system is based on actual conditions observed in the estuary since 1994 and takes into account human behaviors based on interviews with those in the shipping industry. The model also takes into account several specific factors, such as the fact that the population of beluga whales is very fragile, having not fully recovered from old hunting practices from more than 40 years ago.
The researchers' system can help evaluate and quantify the different factors concerning each species and its environment.
From University of Montreal
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