Detecting and Monitoring Marine Megafauna from Space: Exploring Opportunities in the North East Pacific

Nov 2 - Nov 3, 2022, DFO

Click here to download the executive summary document.

Novel technologies for detecting and monitoring large-bodied animals – or ‘megafauna’ – are becoming increasingly important for assessing presence, abundance, density, distribution, and health status, and for mitigating threats to at-risk species. Recent work globally has shown that marine megafauna such as baleen whales can be successfully detected using very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery, allowing for scientific studies, monitoring, and forecasting in remote and inaccessible areas. In the Northeast Pacific, numerous megafauna species – such as the Blue Whale, the Fin Whale, the Grey Whale, the Humpback Whale, and the Basking Shark – are listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) as either Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern. New technologies are needed to supplement traditional survey methods, to support a greater understanding of these species and their habitats in Pacific waters and to work towards the survival and recovery of these iconic species.

Photo by Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Maritimes Region
Crowe, L.M., O'Brien, O., Curtis, T.H., Leiter, S.M., Kenney, R.D., Duley, P. and Kraus, S.D. (2018), Characterization of large basking shark Cetorhinus maximus aggregations in the western North Atlantic Ocean. J Fish Biol, 92: 1371-1384.

To co-explore the potential development and applications of this innovative emerging technology in the Northeast Pacific, with a particular focus on the Pacific coast of Canada, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans in collaboration with the Tula Foundation’s Ocean Decade Regional Collaborative Center for the Northeast Pacific will be hosting a virtual knowledge sharing webinar and workshop, setting the stage for future partnerships and collaborations to detect, monitor, and forecast marine megafauna using space-based data and advanced analysis methods.


This event has separate registration pages for the public and invitational sessions.

Public Webinar: November 2nd, 2022 9:30 AM PST    Register here

Invitational Workshop: November 3rd, 2022 9:30 AM PST  Register here


This is an Ocean Decade Endorsed Activity

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