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Team on Rafale

2018 Season Summary

    The Team and expedition participants onboard Rafale ©MICS   While the team still have their work cut out for the winter in terms of data analysis, here are a few things we can say about the 2018 season as a whole. The 40th research season at MICS was marked by difficult weather conditions, mainly due to high air temperatures...

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Eye o the whale - Lynne Bedbrook

AUCTION: whale paintings

Auction! A bid for whale research!   Prominent local Quebec artist Lynne Bedbrook (Moonwolf Paintings) donates two gorgeous underwater paintings depicting humpback whales to help MICS fund its research! The online auction will be running until Dec 24th. Check out the auction website!   The Sea and its creatures have been fascinating humans for centuries, even millennia, as can attest the numerous...

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IWC WWH 1

MICS featured as case study for best practise in IWC Handbook!

  The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has released a new online tool designed to support best practise in the field of cetacean whale watching, education and science, called the Whale Watching Handbook. This Handbook is designed to support managers, regulators, operators and anyone interested in whale watching. It is a flexible and evolving tool incorporating international best practice, educational resources and...

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Bm9 tag close up

Blue whale tagging 2018: off to Bermuda?

 [Scroll down for updates] ⬇︎   We may be off the water, but thanks to our tagging project, we can still follow some blue whales’ movements from land in the warmth of our offices! Sadly, some of the tags deployed during the 2018 season have already ceased transmission. We are unsure why they do, but the most likely reason is...

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Bps drone

Drone project update

  Drone shot of a mother and calf pair of fin whales in the St. Lawrence. ©TerreSky/MICS Photo   As you may noticed by our foggy articles and social media updates, our drone project was slightly hindered by weather conditions. However, MICS still managed to gather enough data to start making preliminary observations about this year's new research project.  ...

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B197 and calf 2

Blue baby boom!

ERRATUM: Due to a double count of B208's calf, we listed 8 calves for the 2018 season, but it was actually 7 calves (edited Nov 19th, 2018).   As we draw nearer to the end of the research season, we are excited to announce that we have recorded eight blue whale calves so far, beating our 2018 record for the fifth...

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Bubble-net feeding humpbacks

    A humpback whale lunges at the surface to feed on small fish that have been corralled by a bubble-net. ©MICS Photo   Yesterday the team witnessed another surface feeding event, but this time, the whales were using a special technique: Bubble-net feeding! This is a type of cooperative feeding behaviour that has been well-documented in humpback whales in...

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Baby blues: Fifth calf sighted!

  A fifth blue whale calf has been sighted in the St. Lawrence by our collaborator René Roy!    B246 "Jaw-Breaker” and her calf, side by side. Photo: René Roy. This time, it’s B246 "Jaw-Breaker” turn to be a mother! The cow and calf pair was sighted by René Roy on August 11th in the St. Lawrence Estuary, off Pointe...

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Lob tailing and boat

We can see clearly now the fog is gone!

  The MICS Team leaving the dock in the fog   Sure, finding whales in the fog is a nice and unique sensory experience, where you rely more on your sense of hearing that you do on your sense of sight, but it is not as conducive to finding animals.   The MICS boats all leaving the dock and making...

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B522 and calf 2

Blues calf quartet!

  B522 with her calf off Matane. Photo: Benny Caron.   It is with a mixture of joy and slight disbelief that we have learned of the existence of a fourth blue whale calf in the St. Lawrence. As a reminder, our last blue whale calf sighting in the St. Lawrence dates back to 2008!   The pictures, taken in...

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Nubbin's Big Return!

  “Nubbin” (or B155, as it is formally known) is finally back in the St. Lawrence after 34 years!   B155 - "Nubbin" off Matane on July 21st, 2018. Photo: René Roy.   Back in 1984, Richard Sears was working in the waters off Port Cartier, a small town along the North Shore of Quebec, where the Gulf of St....

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BM cow calf 2018

THIRD blue whale calf in the St. Lawrence!

  Three calves! This past July 15th, our collaborator René Roy was out on the waters off Matane, having found six blue whales, including another cow and calf pair!   B324 and her calf   If you follow us regularly, you will know how exciting this news is. This is indeed the third blue calf of the 2018 season, bringing...

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Bm Iceland 03

Statement: Potential blue whale captured in Iceland

Photo credit: Sea Shepherd UK, used with permission.       MICS was contacted on the morning of July 10th, 2018, by a team of Sea Shepherd UK that has been documenting the Icelandic fin whale hunt. They were seeking advice on the identification of an individual whale that was captured by Icelandic whalers, which they believe is in fact...

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MICS Oldie

40 Seasons of MICS: Chapter 1 - the beginnings

    Of salmon and whales: The beginnings of MICS   Forty years, it’s easy enough to say. Forty years, and dozens of generations of innovators, scientists, volunteers, doctoral students, visitors, participants, and supporters have made MICS the organisation that we know today. But before all of that, it was the semi-crazy idea of a Franco-American: Richard Sears.   Originally...

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Aerial Bp 5

The drone project: A new perspective!

Assessing Entanglement Rates in Fin Whales    © MICS Photo   MICS is pleased to announce a new research project in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and TerreSky for one year, to run an innovative pilot study aiming to assess scarring rate (due to entanglement) in fin whales.   As you may have read elsewhere on...

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Mn boat

Eat your heart out! Story of a feeding frenzy

  A humpback whale lunge-feeds on fish close to Sirocco   It was as if a dinner invitation had been sent out to all species in the Mingan-Anticosti region of the Saint Lawrence.   It had been a windy couple of weeks, forcing us to stay on solid ground. It was, therefore, with excitement and eagerness that we left the...

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calf B208 2018 d

Second blue whale calf spotted in the St. Lawrence!

  Calf of B208, the second in 2018! (Photo by Yves Morin, DFO)   “You see nothing for years and all of a sudden, you get two within a year!”. Richard Sears’ enthusiasm was palpable when he recounted the news that a blue whale calf had been sighted in the St. Lawrence by a team of the Department of Fisheries...

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B525 blue

Western Blues

  Just in time to start our new season, we finally finished matching all the blue whales from the Northwest Atlantic (NWA), thus closing the 2017 catalog.   The last blue whale to be added to our NWA blue whale catalog   As with the Northeast Atlantic, 2017 was a good year for blue whale identifications in the St. Lawrence. We identified...

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Blue whale calf Gulf of St Lawrence 1

Blue whale calf in the St. Lawrence!

A little blue in the St. Lawrence!    An unusual sight: a blue whale and her calf in the St. Lawrence.    For the first time in years, a blue whale has been spotted accompanied by a calf in the St. Lawrence. The unusual event was observed by our collaborator René Roy off Pointe-des-Monts on May 19th.     Richard Sears...

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Humpback fluke cover photo

2017: Record year for humpbacks!

2017 shattered our humpback whale identification record!   A humpback whale exposes the underside of its fluke as it dives into the  St. Lawrence. The yellowish coloration is due to the diatoms (phytoplankton) that will temporarily "stick" to their skin during the feeding season.   2017 was a great year for research at MICS, with plenty of photo-identified individuals across...

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Top photo

2017, a great year for research

2017, a great year for research   For a change, here is a brief summary of the research season in infographic form!  

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Stranded humpback whale

Live strandings: opinion piece

Humpback whale that stranded alive on the coast of the Magdalen Islands. Photo by Daniel Cyr. Good intentions aren't enough: Refloating baleen whales won't save them   The following is an opinion piece about live strandings by Dr. Christian Ramp, Research Coordinator at MICS.    The 2018 season has not yet started and already two dead humpback whales were reported...

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1-NARW flating carcass and boat

When things go wrong for Right Whales

When things go wrong for Right Whales   [This blog was originally published on the Royal Ontario Museum's website on March 8th, 2018]   A floating right whale carcass in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Found and analysed by scientists. Photo by DFO and The Canadian Press   Right whales were featured heavily in the news throughout the latter half...

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Blue whale in the Azores - Apr 2017

Blue Whales of the North-East Atlantic: 2017-2018

  Blue Whales of the North-East Atlantic: 2017-2018   A blue whale taking a breath off the coast of Pico Island in April 2017. The blue whale was so named after the bright blue hues that are reflected from its body underwater. Pico, 2017 We returned to Lajes do Pico during the last days of April 2017 to pursue our...

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