Using a Geospatial Approach to Evaluate the Impacts of Shipping Activity on Marine Mammals and Fish in Arctic Canada

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Title: Using a Geospatial Approach to Evaluate the Impacts of Shipping Activity on Marine Mammals and Fish in Arctic Canada
Authors: Joyce, Jenna
Date: 2018-06-14
Abstract: A loss in sea ice cover, primarily attributed to climate change, is increasing the accessibility and navigability of the Arctic Ocean. This increased accessibility of the Canadian Arctic, and in particular the Northwest Passage, presents important global and national shipping and development opportunities. However, increased shipping in the region also present challenges related to the environmental sustainability, sovereignty and safety, and cultural sustainability. The Low Impact Shipping Corridors (the Corridors) is currently the foundational framework for governing ship traffic within the Canadian Arctic. However, the Corridors were largely established based on historic traffic patterns and thus they do not fully consider important areas for marine mammals and fish in the region. This research addresses this important research gap by spatially identifying important areas for marine mammals and fish in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut using both Traditional Knowledge and western science, evaluating ship tracks from 1990-2015, and geospatially identifying and evaluating areas of potential disturbance for marine mammals and fish related to vessel noise from different ship types transiting the Corridors within the study region. The results of this study indicate that all vessel types have the potential to cause behavioural disturbance to marine mammals and fish when navigating through these important wildlife areas, and that louder vessels (i.e. Tanker ships) travelling outside of these important wildlife areas have a greater potential to cause behavioural disturbance to marine mammals and fish than quieter vessels (i.e. Pleasure Crafts). The results also indicate that vessels navigating through certain regions of the Kitikmeot have a higher potential to cause behavioural disturbances in these species, including through the Gulf of Boothia, Franklin Strait, Rae Strait, Rasmussen Basin, and Bathurst Inlet.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/37777
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-22039
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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