Marine Mammal Observation Network – About


Marine mammal observation data collected by the Marine Mammal Observation Network (ROMM) and disseminated on the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) are a valuable source of information on attendance of cetaceans and seals in the St. Lawrence because of their abundance and the long period over which they were collected. However, they have limitations and a warning must be made as to their understanding, interpretation and use:

  1. A lack of data in one sector should not be interpreted as an absence of marine mammals. For some sectors and some periods of the year, there is currently no data available regarding the attendance of marine mammals.
  2. The data are collected almost exclusively from May to October.
  3. The data gathering effort is not consistent for the different databases managed by the ROMM. Some of them were collected systematically by teams of the ROMM following strict protocols and others from members of his volunteer observation network that gathers observation data of marine mammals during their regular activities in a non-systematic way. This bias should be taken into account in the analysis and interpretation of these data.
  4. Maps presented on only show ROMM datasets. Obviously, there are other sources of marine mammal observation data available from other organizations but they are not currently integrated into the SLGO portal.

The Marine Mammal Observation Network (ROMM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of cetaceans and seals of the St. Lawrence, and their habitats. This mission his achieved through planning, management and monitoring knowledge-building projects, as well as conservation, education and awareness-raising initiatives throughout the ROMM’s territory, which covers a significant portion of the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. ROMM was originally created by Parc Bas-Saint-Laurent corporation in 1998 and was officially incorporated in March 2004.

The primary objective of its creation was to provide a database of cetacean and seal observations in the waters of the Lower St. Lawrence, from Kamouraska to Rimouski. Right from the beginning of this environmental observation project, organizations from different backgrounds joined the movement by collecting data on marine mammals and other species on a voluntary basis throughout their regular observation season. Conservation parks, companies offering boat trips and sea excursions, ferry and cargo ships are grouped under the name “Observer Members of ROMM.” Over the years, new observers are added to the network members and the territory covered grows. In 2014, the ROMM has twenty members in its ranks that are spread over the entire territory of maritime Quebec.

In addition to its observer member’s network, the ROMM carries out knowledge-building projects. The scientific data collected by teams of trained technicians are grouped under the activity called “activities of observation at sea – AOM.” The ROMM “AOM” data follow a rigorous scientific protocol for describing and understanding the interactions between companies offering observation activities at sea and the marine mammals they observe. The ROMM has been collecting data on cetacean and seal frequentation in the territorial waters of the Gaspé Peninsula since 2006 and in the south of the St. Lawrence upper estuary since 2014.

The crowdsourcing Web Application created in association with the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) will expand ROMM’S database with data known as “citizens data” or “community data”, that is to say, unscientific. Starting in July 2014, the public is invited to participate in the collection of information on marine mammals of the St. Lawrence by visiting the platform developed by SLGO. By doing so, all citizens interested in marine mammals and concerned about their future can now participate in the collection of information on observed marine mammals, either from a boat, from the coast or during underwater diving. We also invite people to send us their observations of rare species such as leatherback turt Basic page les, basking sharks, ocean sunfish or bluefin tuna, four species that can be occasionally seen in the St. Lawrence.

Partners and Teams

The project of elaborating a community set database is dependent on the implication of ROMM observer members. Some members have been active since 1998 and have since collected an impressive amount of data on marine mammals. Hereby, ROMM would like to thank each and every one of them for generously dedicating their time to data gathering. These members are (in alphabetical order):

  • Archipel Aventure, Rimouski, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Aube Aventure, Cap-aux-Os, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Avolo plein air, Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Azimut Aventure, Baie Sainte-Catherine, Capitale-Nationale
  • Bateliers de Percé, Percé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Cap Aventure, Gaspé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Cégep de La Pocatière, La Pocatière, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Centre nautique de l’Istorlet, Havre-Aubert, Îles de la Madeleine, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • COOP Kayak des îles, Trois-Pistoles, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Croisières AML, Rivière-du-Loup, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Croisières Baie de Gaspé, Gaspé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Croisières Julien Cloutier, Percé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Écomaris, Montréal, Montréal
  • Eskamer Aventure, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Exploramer, Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Explos-Nature, Les Bergeronnes, Côte-Nord
  • OrganisAction, Saguenay – Lac Saint-Jean
  • Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Percé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Parc national du Bic, Le Bic, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Parc national du Canada Forillon, Gaspé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay, Rivière-Éternité, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Relais Nordik, Rimouski, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Société d’écologie de la batture du Kamouraska (SEBKA), Saint-André-de-Kamouraska, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Traverse Rivière-du-Loup – Saint-Siméon, Rivière-du-Loup, Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Traversiers de l’île, Percé, Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine

This data dissemination project was undertaken with the financial support of: