Exploring Small Vessel Interactions with Cetaceans in the Salish Sea

Small vessel interactions with cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in the Salish Sea is poorly understood. This is of concern as vessel impacts, such as acoustic impacts and behavioural disturbances, have been categorized as a key threat to the recovery of various cetacean species. To minimize vessel impacts on cetacean species, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have drafted and updated over the years mandatory marine mammal viewing distance regulations around cetaceans. However, there lacks data exploring both vessel interactions with cetaceans and the effectiveness of current distance approach regulations. This internship will be in partnership with the Wild 4 Whales foundation to examine small vessel interactions with cetaceans in the Salish Sea. The primary objectives of the research are to: understand small vessel interactions with cetaceans through determining small vessel compliance rates to marine mammal distance regulations, and examine potential variables that influence small vessel interactions with cetaceans in the Salish Sea.

Molly Fraser
Faculty Supervisor: 
Rosaline Canessa;Chris Darimont
British Columbia
Partner University: