Three underwater robots have spent weeks listening to grey whales off the west coast of Vancouver Island last month, so scientists can learn more about what the whales are encountering in northern waters as they migrate up the coast from their winter habitat off California, to their rich feeding grounds in the Bering Sea off Alaska.
Sometimes the whales frequent certain hotspots and the goal is to map out critical whale habitat and find why are the whales congregating in some areas more than others. A similar project took place on Canada’s east coast where researchers found that some whale habitats were crossing shipping lanes, results were used to have the shipping lanes adjusted to minimise whales strikes. If it’s found there’s some critical whale habitat for the grey whales around Vancouver’s waters then a policy could be put in place that would also minimise ship whale interactions in the area.
This is the first time three underwater robots have been used to map out whale habitat off the British Columbia.