Researchers at the University of Montreal have developed a computer programme that enables regulators to evaluate the ecological and economic tradeoffs between 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,” said Lael Parrott, who headed the research team. The model, developed in her Complex Systems Laboratory, maps the estuary where the field research was undertaken, simulates the comings and goings of five mammal species (minke whale, fin whale, beluga, humpback and blue whale), the presence and movements of three types of boats (recreation, excursion and cargo), and environmental conditions. Nine scenarios were elaborated in order to observe the effects of various decisions. (more…)