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Ottawa/Vancouver (B.C.), Mar 9 (Canadian-Media): Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced yesterday that Whale Science for Tomorrow initiative (WSTI), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (FAOC) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada are partnering to provide $2.9 million in funding to Canadian universities for scientific research on conservation of endangered whale populations, media reports said.
WSTI/Facebook FAOC/Facebook NCERC/Facebook
These research projects would strengthen knowledge to support decision-making, conservation and recovery efforts for the whale population.
“The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic Right Whale and the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga...that by working together, we will advance our knowledge and find more solutions to the challenges facing these whales,” said Wilkinson.
“NSERC is pleased to collaborate with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to...be a part of this partnership, which is helping to preserve the remarkable nature that Canada has to offer,” said Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Dr Marc Fortin/Twitter
The Canadian universities who would be receiving this funding would be University of British Columbia, Dalhousie University and the Université du Québec à Montréal.
“There is an urgent need to determine whether Southern Resident Killer Whales are getting enough to eat in British Columbia...This funding will broaden the base of recovery research in Canada...to support government decision-making and conservation efforts for this endangered species,” said Dr. Andrew Trites, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia
"This is excellent news for the entire Dalhousie research...will further fortify our interagency collaboration among many governmental, non-governmental, industrial and academic agencies, each of which is dedicated to mitigating human threats to right whales,” said Dr. Christopher Taggart, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University.
“Our research will also provide essential information to policymakers that could ultimately impact the management of new chemical substances that accumulate in the tissues of this endangered beluga population,” said Dr. Jonathan Verreault, Department of Biological Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal.
Dr Andrew Trites/FB DrChristopher Taggart/FB Dr Jonathan Verreault/FB
A number of programs under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan and the $167 million Whales Initiative support the conservation and recovery of these species.
This will also prepare the next generation of scientists to ensure the long-term conservation and recovery of these endangered whales and will provide decision-makers and policy advisors with the desired information.
Many whale populations face multiple threats, such as vessel collisions, a scarcity of prey, underwater noise, marine debris and other ocean contaminants.
“The researchers we are celebrating today will collect crucial data to help us better understand the threats facing our endangered marine mammals...to protect Canada’s species and the environment surrounding them,” said Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport.
Kristy Duncan (left)/Twitter
Over the past two years, we have dedicated millions under the Oceans Protection Plan in projects that offer tangible protections for marine mammals.
The main threats to the Southern Resident Killer Whale is being addressed by the Government of Canada through the Whales Initiative by improving prey availability, reducing underwater vessel noise, increased monitoring under the water and in the air, encouraging compliance, and building partnerships for additional action.