Conflicts between marine mammals and fisheries in the northwest Atlantic

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (SPM) is a French archipelago located in the NW Atlantic, south of Newfoundland, that hosts a remarkable diversity and abundance of marine mammals including our favorite above all, the killer whale (Orcinus orca) or orca.

Besides, there are large baleen whales(primarily fin Balaenoptera physalus, humpback Megaptera novaeangliae and minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata), dolphins (primarily common Delphinus delphis, white-beaked Lagenorhynchus albirostris and Atlantic white-sided dolphins Lagenorhynchus acutus) and two species of seals: the harbor (Phoca vitulina) and the gray seal (Halichoerus grypus).


Cetaceans, harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), gray seals (Halichoerus grypus)

St Pierre et Miquelon (France)

Marine mammals can have a significant impact on marine ecosystems through predation and other processes, and can, therefore, affect the socio-economic landscape of this territory.

We study competitive interactions between marine mammals and fisheries in St Pierre et Miquelon

Although marine mammals are abundant in  Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, their distribution, ecology, and behavior is poorly known. However, operational (depredation) and biological (competition) interactions with fisheries has been frequently reported by fishermen or suspected, respectively. This project aims at investigating the ecological roles and importance of marine mammals in the waters of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) encounter in August 2019 in the waters of St Pierre et Miquelon.

More specifically, we assess 1- the distribution and abundance of the most common species in the archipelago and identify their foraging habitats (at-sea surveys, telemetry for seals and large whales); 2- their feeding ecology (identification of trophic niches using scat samples, stomach contents, and stable isotopes) in relation to prey availability and fisheries; 3- the impact of marine mammals on fisheries (identification of conflicts and their socio-economic impact). This interdisciplinary project involves multiple methods in ecology, behavioral ecology, and social sciences, as well as the involvement of an international team of scientists (from France, the United States, and Canada), fisheries ecologists, managers, and local conservation leaders. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to mitigate negative interactions between marine mammals and fisheries in Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.