Whale Seeker and Edgewise Environmental win federal contract to monitor marine mammals

03 June 2024 Consulting.ca 2 min. read

Whale Seeker, a Montreal-based provider of AI-powered solutions for marine mammal detection, and Edgewise Environmental, a St. John’s, NL-based marine environmental consulting firm, have won a federal contract to monitor marine mammals in Southern Newfoundland.

The contract, which is worth $855,000, was announced on Wednesday by the ministry of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. The contract award falls under the Canada Nature Fund for Aquatic Species at Risk (CNFASAR), which helps protect marine ecosystems and at-risk aquatic species to support productive and sustainable fisheries.

The CNFASAR has since 2018 funded over 140 projects worth over $110 million across Canada to aid the conservation of biodiversity.

Working with Edgewise Environmental, Whale Seeker will deploy its Mobius technology – which uses drone and AI technology – to simplify and facilitate real-time marine mammal observation.

Whale Seeker and Edgewise Environmental win federal contract to monitor marine mammals

Founded in 2018, the Montreal startup has a 12-person team composed of biologists, ecologists, data scientists, and software developers.

The firm’s detection solution is 97% faster than full manual detection and has detected over 157,000 marine mammals thus far. Whale Seeker works with government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations in the marine sector.

“At Whale Seeker, we are deeply honoured to contribute to the advancement of marine conservation through our innovative technology,” said CEO Emily Charry Tissier. “Our cutting-edge solutions, developed with a commitment to ethical AI and collaboration, are designed to meet the urgent need for high-quality and accessible tools. By leveraging our expertise and working together, we can provide real-time insights for data-driven decisions for all ocean stakeholders."

Founded in 2017, Edgewise Environmental provides training and environmental consulting services across all marine industries – with a focus on marine mammal and seabird observation, mitigation, and anthropogenic noise solutions. The St. John’s-based firm has nine employees listed on LinkedIn.

“Canada will always strive to find the right balance between protecting marine mammals and continuing fishing activities that are crucial to the economies of our coastal communities. Today's announcement is timely: by combining artificial intelligence and local know-how, we will ultimately be able to detect the presence of marine mammals in near real time. Ultimately, I am hopeful that this will provide the additional degree of predictability that our fishermen need to successfully complete their fishing seasons, and thus ensure the prosperity of our coastal communities,” said Diane Lebouthillier, minister of fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard.