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Moira Brown

Moira Brown


Moira Brown is Canada’s leading North Atlantic right whale scientist, providing scientific and conservation advice to marine industries and government. As senior scientist with the Canadian Whale Institute on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, she studies the population biology and demographics of North Atlantic right whales. Dr. Brown’s conservation work focuses on the human-related threats faced by right whales in Canadian waters and on working with marine industries and government to develop and implement measures to reduce the effect of human activities on whale numbers.

Dr. Brown was instrumental in working with the shipping industry, scientists at Dalhousie University and the New England Aquarium, Canadian government regulators, and the International Maritime Organization to establish two precedent-setting conservation initiatives that substantially reduced the risk of vessel strikes on right whales in Atlantic Canadian waters.

Right Whales: A Primer in Conservation, Science and Policy

Ocean-going vessels pose a threat to large whales worldwide, and vessel strikes have been responsible for the majority of diagnosed deaths among North Atlantic right whales. In 1998, scientists formed a unique partnership with professional mariners to design measures to reduce vessel-strike mortality. Stewardship efforts resulted in Canada implementing measures, sanctioned by the International Maritime Organization, to minimize the risk of lethal vessel strikes in two critical habitats in Atlantic Canada.

During her conference held at the Gulf Fisheries Centre, in March 2019 in Moncton, N.B, Dr. Brown explored how stakeholder engagement, industry stewardship and effective science-driven policy for conservation can be used to identify, develop and implement measures to enhance the recovery of right whales.

Right whales are responding to changes in their habitat. Dr. Brown discussed how young scientists are using new technologies to address threats to whales in new habitats and the challenges of building capacity to respond to whale emergencies in Canada.

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