The Canadian Space Agency is going to be using satellite technology and data to help the country monitor and protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale.
In a press release from the Canadian Space Agency on Tuesday, the federal government is investing $5.3 million to five Canadian companies under the smartWhales initiative to enhance the country’s ability to monitor the presence of these whales in Canadian waters and predict their movement.
Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan said that the goal of the smartWhales initiative is to help protect right whale entanglements in fishing gear and vessel collisions.
“The North Atlantic right whale is endangered and we must take every step possible to save them,” Jordan said in a press release.
🇨🇦's efforts to protect North Atlantic right whales are working, but we can always do more. The new smartWhales project will use satellite technology to monitor & detect whales' movements to prevent #NARW vessel strikes & entanglements.https://t.co/9tF3zYUuFW pic.twitter.com/OzfxsaTeLJ
— Bernadette Jordan (@BernJordanMP) January 27, 2021
The federal government will be funding five projects over the next three years to help protect the the North Atlantic right whales using satellite data, including a project that will monitor the right whales and their habitat, as well as a project that will develop a system that will provide near real time information about the forecasted presence of the right whales and the potential risk of encountering a vessel.
“Satellite data is a critical and powerful tool bringing innovative solutions to the many challenges on Earth,” Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne said. “By bringing together the top Canadian minds and satellite data, the smartWhales initiative will explore new techniques to further detect, monitor, and ultimately protect the North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters.”
According to the press release, there are about 366 North Atlantic right whales remaining in the world.