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Developing a precautionary approach framework for Baffin Bay Cetacean Stocks

In 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada funded $55,000 from the Partnership Fund to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources for this research to better understand and manage whale populations in Baffin Bay. In resource management, the precautionary approach generally means applying caution when scientific information is uncertain, unreliable, or inadequate, and not using the absence of adequate scientific information as a reason to postpone or fail to take action to avoid serious harm to the resource. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is advocating the precautionary approach be adapted for marine mammal populations across Canada. This initiative will compile existing datasets for whale species that are harvested in Canada and Greenland—Narwhal, Beluga, and Bowhead—including data on historical and current population/stock abundance, movement information based on telemetry research, the discreteness of stocks as determine by biomarkers (e.g., genetics), and harvest statistics. This knowledge will inform the development of population growth models to improve the detection and understanding of population changes. The project is also expected to advance lab-based research to provide age structure and reproductive data for Narwhals and Bowhead Whales, and to create stronger ties for future collaborations between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Project Number: CA2016.44
Year: 2016
Partner: Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Principal Investigator(s): Fernando Ugarte, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen
Eco-region: North Atlantic

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