Parks Canada goes whale watching in Saguenay-Saint-Laurent

By tracking the whales' movements and eating habits, conservationists can get a better picture of their habits.

By tracking the whales' movements and eating habits, conservationists can get a better picture of their habits

The Parks Canada researchers gather data on the movements and eating habits of whales in the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

Researchers with Parks Canada are tracking the movements of whales in the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park, hoping to get a clearer picture of their habits and life cycles.

On board The Alliance, the researchers also track food sources in the estuary, using an echo sounder to follow the whales' movements underwater.

Whales are monitored in the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

Parks Canada has been monitoring this area since 2009, tracking whale pods and gathering data that could be used for future conservation efforts.

Nadia Ménard, an ecologist, is involved in keeping tabs on the natural food supplies like herring and krill. She said that the stock can vary greatly from one season to the next.

Nadia Ménard is an ecologist with Parks Canada. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

"When the whales come here, there's no guarantee. It's not something that's offered like a big banquet," she said.

The Alliance makes between 20 and 30 voyages every summer, always along the same route so data can be logged in the same areas.

The Alliance takes between 20 and 30 voyages every summer. (Benoît Jobin/Radio-Canada)

Along with the echo sounder, two people work on the observation deck scanning for marine life as well as birds.

When the team comes across a wealth of fish that are favoured by larger marine animals, they can safely assume that the whales aren't far off.


Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Marlène Joseph-Blais.