Advancing an Integrated Management approach to Ship Strikes with Baleen whales on Canada’s Pacific Coast [graduate project].
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Ship strikes have been identified as a threat to the survival and recovery of whale species populations. On Canada’s Pacific coast, ship strikes are noted as a potential threat to the recovery of baleen whales, specifically gray, blue, fin, sei, North Pacific right whale and humpback populations. Limited information on baleen species abundance and habitat has led to gaps in knowledge concerning the extent to which ship strikes pose a threat to these species within Canada’s Pacific waters. This has resulted in a lack of appropriate management measures that consider the mitigation of ship strike risk. As development in marine transportation industries on Canada’s Pacific coast progresses, management of industries along with conservation objectives for whale species should be mutually addressed. This paper will provide an integrated management approach to minimizing ship strike risk within the context of Canada’s Pacific coast, taking into consideration the existing opportunities and constraints. A review of experiences from other jurisdictions provide guidance on how an operational framework could be developed. Introducing an integrated management approach to mitigating ship strike risk will balance progress in marine transportation industries with conservation responsibilities to whale species. Although information is lacking to support a thorough understanding of the risk of ship strikes on the Pacific coast, developing an IM approach will support information gathering and foster a collaborative environment for stakeholders to discuss development in a precautionary manner that can adapt as needed.