Whales from Space: Surveying Baleen Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence using VHR Satellite Imagery
Ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement in particular have put right whales at risk of extinction with approximately 400 of this species remaining. Monitoring the remaining whale requires reliable detection of whales over large spatial scales. Traditionally, whale population size and distribution are estimated using trained experts on survey boats and planes. This project will develop an automated methods to visually detect endangered North Atlantic right whales from aerial and satellite imagery. The outcome of this project will allow for improved identification of whale location, improving the information available to ocean transportation by more easily identifying the location of right whales and allowing shipping companies and government partners to make more informed decisions about shipping lanes, vessel speed, and other movement criteria that may impact the reliability of shipping logistics with balancing the safety of the whales.