Fednav Limited has become the first international shipowner to join the whale watching members of the Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON).
Fednav is the world’s largest operator of ice-class dry-bulk carriers and a renowned Canadian oceangoing dry bulk shipowning and chartering group. It operates a modern and efficient fleet of approximately 100 vessels, the majority of which it owns. The crews of two of the company’s domestic vessels sailing within the Arctic will participate in the whale watching data collection project.
Training of these crews has started, with biologist and Green Marine programme manag- er Véronique Nolet having already been aboard the Arctic at the start of this month to train the captain and team in observing and identifying marine mammals. She will soon train the team aboard the Umiak I. Already, these Arctic mariners have sent their first whale- watching data from the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary; north of Hopedale in Labrador; and, south of Resolution Island in the Arctic.
“Protecting the environment is a cornerstone of Fednav’s philosophy and a fundamental business value,” says Fednav’s Director of Governmental Affairs and Sustainable Development Marc Gagnon. “Therefore, it made sense to participate in this observation project that will make it possible to learn more about the movement of whales, with this knowledge definitively contributing to their conservation.”
The project engaging the maritime industry in the collection of marine mammal data was initiated by MOMM in 2015 with Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines, a division of the CSL Group. Green Marine then joined the project funded by the Government of Canada’s Species at Risk Habitat Stewardship Program to facilitate the networking with shipowners and to develop the appropriate training tools.
In just a few years, more than 1,800 data observations have been gathered by the network’s member vessels. The collected data is available to the public through the St. Lawrence Global Observatory’s (l’Observatoire global du Saint-Laurent) website. “The addition of these two Fednav vessels is particularly interesting given demonstrating the maritime industry’s commitment to the environment and conservation.
The Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON) is a non-profit organization based in Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, that has been working since 1998 for the conservation and sustainable development of the St. Lawrence River and its wildlife. Using an integrated management approach, MMON collaborates with diverse maritime industry stakeholders in a concerted effort to conserve marine ecosystems.
Fednav is a privately owned shipping company with a workforce of 290 employees: 170 at its Montreal head- quarters and
approximately 100 in commercial offices in Antwerp, Charlotte, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador), Singapore, and Tokyo.
Founded in 2007, Green Marine is a North American environmental certification programme that stems from a voluntary maritime industry initiative to surpass regulations. This inclusive, rigorous and transparent initiative focuses on environmental priorities through its 12 distinct performance indicators.
To date, more than 120 shipowners, ports, terminals, and shipyards from coast to coast in Canada and the United States are participating in the programme. The Green Marine program’s unique character is derived from the support it receives from environmental, scientific and govern- mental organizations. These approximately 60 supporters contribute to shaping and revising the programme.