Acoustic Monitoring of Marine Mammals and Ship Traffic in the Amundsen Gulf

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, sea ice, hydroacoustic survey, marine mammals

Principal Investigator: Insley, Stephen J (12)
Licence Number: 15996
Organization: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2016 2015 2014
Issued: Dec 19, 2016

Objective(s): To assess the impacts of increased shipping and sea-ice loss on marine mammals in the eastern Beaufort Sea.

Project Description: The main objective of the current study is to assess the impacts of increased shipping and sea-ice loss on marine mammals in the eastern Beaufort Sea. The primary methodology is passive acoustic monitoring at the western entrance to the Northwest Passage shipping route, particularly the Amundsen Gulf and Banks Island area.

To accomplish the objectives, the research team have designed a program to work with the local community of Sachs Harbour to remotely monitor both marine mammal and shipping activities at the entrance to the Amundsen Gulf in the eastern Beaufort Sea. The main monitoring effort will involve passive acoustic monitors (PAM), acoustic dataloggers that can be left unattended to record sounds and then retrieved for downloading and analysis. During 2014 a single datalogger was successfully deployed and recovered near to Sachs Harbour for five weeks during the ice free season as a pilot study. During the 2015 season, two dataloggers were deployed in the region of Cape Kellett and recovered in late August. A third datalogger was then deployed to record overwinter. During 2016 this datalogger was recovered and a new one deployed at the same location to record overwinter. The plan is for this location to record year-round data collected on an annual basis. The next set of recording sites the research team will focus on are first throughout the Amundsen Gulf (e.g. Nelson Head, Cape Parry, Pearce Point, Ulukhaktok) and second north of the Amundsen Gulf including the Prince of Wales Strait and the Viscount-Melville Sound. The results are expected to provide valuable and timely information with which to make best practices recommendations for future shipping and to dealing with ecosystem change.

Consultation involves both formal interactions (e.g. with the Sachs Harbour Hunters and Trappers Committee) and various informal interactions such as during meetings (e.g. Inuvialuit Game Council, the Beaufort Sea Partnership, and the ArcticNet conference) as well as during discussions with various locals while in Sachs Harbour.

The research team will share research results with the communities directly involved, (e.g. Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok) during Hunters and Trappers Committee meetings. The results are also to be shared with the wider Inuvialuit Settlement Region communities during an Inuvialuit Game Council meeting and possibly.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.