Protection for Marine Mammals in the North and South

By April 12, 2011Ocean News

A special thing has happened and I am very happy to share it with you guys today. Marine Mammals will be protected in the Northwest Atlantic in the Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park (SSLMP) and now, in they will also be protected in the first marine mammal sanctuary in the Caribbean Sea. Dr. Lyne Morissette, a Speak Up for the Blue Ocean Leader, will be aboard the sailing ship the Bel Espoir II for a ten day sail across the marine sanctuary. Lyne will be joined by over 20 other experts in the journey as they visit every island in the sanctuary to meet with the public.

This is a great time for Ocean Management as it is difficult to protect large Marine Mammals such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, etc. because they travel so far across oceans to migrate during different seasons. Many whales will migrate north in for the summers and migrate back south for the winters to spawn and reproduce. Marine mammals have been protected in the SSLMP but were still vulnerable when they were in the Caribbean Sea, a place where they spawn; however, now the mammals will be protected in the North and South.

Below is the press release for the journey.

A scientist from ISMER on whales’ journey
Lyne Morissette participates to the inaugural expedition
of the first marine mammal sanctuary of the Caribbean

RIMOUSKI – Once again research scientists from Institut des sciences de la mer (ISMER) show their international dynamism & involvement. From April 9-17 2011, Dr. Lyne Morissette participates, as an expert of ecosystem and marine mammals’ ecology, to the inauguration of the first marine mammal sanctuary of the Caribbean (www.AGOA.fr). Dr. Morissette is co-holding
the UNESCO chair in integrated analysis of marine systems at UQAR-ISMER.

For this event, a team of 25 international experts will get on board a great sailing ship, the Bel Espoir II, during ten days, to cross the sanctuary from North to South. Mrs. Morissette will be the only Canadian on board.

The project will first be launched in Paris, on April 4th, a few days before the expedition, in presence of the honorary patron of the project, Mme Maud Fontenoy. She is a French navigator who rowed across the Atlantic and the Pacific, and also sailed solo around the Southern hemisphere against the current. She is the president of the Fondation Maud-Fontenoy pour la
sauvegarde des océans : (http://www.maudfontenoyfondation.com/fondation.php ), and ocean spokesperson for UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (OIC).

The project “on whales’ journey” is also a real “floating symposium”. Indeed, the sailing ship will stop on every island of the sanctuary for meetings with the public.

“What is interesting about this adventure, explains Lyne Morissette, is that the whales that we protect here, in the St. Lawrence Marine Park, will now go south to spend the winter in a sanctuary where they will be protected in their breeding area.”

The Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park (SSLMP) enthusiastically supports this first sanctuary for marine mammals in the Caribbean, concludes Dr. Émilien Pelletier, president of the coordination committee of the SSLMP. “The primary mission of our marine park is to protect the habitat for belugas and other marine mammals that come each year to feed at mouth of the
Saguenay Fjord. Marine mammals are great travelers that don’t know the boarders established by mankind, but that are part of this precious heritage that the oceans of the world bequeaths us everyday”.

You can follow this expedition online on UQAR’s UNESCO Chair : www.uqar.ca/systemesmarins-30-

Contact:
Lyne Morissette, lyne.morissette@uqar.qc.ca 418-723-1986, poste 1981
Mario Bélanger, Service des communications UQAR, 418-723-1986, poste 1426

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