Protecting marine life is a crucial consideration for the cruise industry, and stakeholders everywhere are making significant efforts to achieve this goal. However, warming temperatures are causing changes in the migration patterns of various animals, including the 13 species of whales found in the Saint Lawrence. Predicting the movements of these mammals is becoming more and more difficult.
How can cruise ships not only share the seaway with these magnificent creatures, but allow them to thrive? How can we keep a safe distance at all times, so we can all continue to admire these majestic animals and provide our guests with unforgettable experiences? Startup Whale Seeker seems to have found the answer to these questions.
AI and human expertise: the best of both worlds
Whale Seeker offers a marine mammal detection service like no other. The startup leverages AI technology to detect and track marine mammals, while also keeping experts in marine biology in the loop at all times. Why use both? Technology speeds up the detection process, while the resulting imagery is analysed by specialists with the expertise needed to help cruise lines plan the best routes for their ships.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Christine Fürthaller, Head of Growth at Whale Seeker. “Depending on the situation’s requirements, we can analyse images from drone, satellite or even infrared imagery to follow mammals on their journey, and we can do so in real time.“
How it all started
The Montréal-based business was founded in 2018. Christine enthusiastically recalls: “Emily Charry Tissier, one of our founders and an ecologist, was watching her husband Bertrand (also a marine biologist), review hundreds of images with nothing but a computer and a spreadsheet! After hours of painstaking analysis, they both agreed that there had to be a better way to do this,” she adds. A developer was brought on board and voilà! The automated marine mammal detection solution was launched.
Helping the cruise industry reach its sustainable development goals
Sustainability is at the heart of the cruise industry’s activities, and taking an active role in preserving marine species is one way to demonstrate our commitment to sustainable practices. “Whale Seeker offers tools that stakeholders can use to map migration routes and better understand the movements of the animals that share the Saint Lawrence River for increased safety and sustainability,” concludes Christine Fürthaller.
A wealth of natural riches
Thanks to organizations like Whale Seeker, we can all unite to look after the animals that share the seaway with us. Here’s to using technology to sail towards a more sustainable future together.
Find out more about the Cruise the Saint Lawrence sustainable development guidelines on our sustainability page.