Beluga stories: this is the sixth episode of the transcript of the training lecture given by Robert Michaud at the CIMM on June 22, 2015. In this text and audio episode: beluga fishing of yesteryear with weirs and the film Of Whales, the Moon and Men; the birth of a beluga in captivity and its mother’s behaviour; lending nature a hand by attempting to reintroduce a baby beluga found on shore into a group.

 On June 22, Robert Michaud, scientific director and co-founder of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), gave a training lecture at the Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre (CIMM) in Tadoussac. The biologist and St. Lawrence beluga specialist shared stories about these whales and raised questions about the current decline in the St. Lawrence population.

 Whales Online brings you excerpts of this presentation, in the form of a sort of written and audio series to be followed all summer and fall. In the final episode (8/8) of News from Near and Afar, Robert Michaud will answer additional questions. What about you, do you have any questions regarding belugas? We urge you to ask them in the “Questions from the Public” section of the website or on the Whales Online Facebook page.

 Robert Michaud speaks about the film Of Whales, the Moon and Men, produced by Pierre Perreault and Michel Brault in 1962. At the time, belugas were referred to as “porpoises”. For this film, residents of Île aux Coudres revive traditional “porpoise” fishing using weirs, a practice that disappeared in the 1920s. For what purpose?

Listen (in French) (9 min 04 s)

PHOTO-1

Photos: © GREMM

 

In June 2008, a beluga at the Vancouver Aquarium gave birth. The behaviour of this young mother raises many questions. And now, two months later, a baby beluga whale is stranded alive on the north shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary. It was decided to place it back into the water in the hope that it would be adopted by a group of belugas. The monitoring of this attempt yields exceptional observations. But once again, this type of incident raises ethical questions, especially when it is an endangered species: should we let nature follow its course or should we intervene?

Listen (in French) (7 min 44 s)

photo-2

Photo: © Vancouver Aquarium

photo-3

Photo: © GREMM

To learn more

On the National Film Board website:

Of Whales, the Moon and Men (downloadable film)

On YouTube:

Qila gives birth in 2010 in the Vancouver Aquarium

On Whales Online:

Whaling in the St. Lawrence

Reproduction

About the beluga (data sheet)

Robert Michaud bio

Previous episodes of the training lecture:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

News - 25/10/2015

Équipe du GREMM

Led by scientific director Robert Michaud, the research team of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) studies St. Lawrence beluga whales and large rorquals (humpback, blue and fin whales) at sea. The Bleuvet and the BpJAM leave the port of Tadoussac every morning to gather valuable information on the life of the whales of the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Recommended articles

15 Calves Spark Hope for Right Whales

From November to April, North Atlantic right whales give birth to their calves in the warm waters off Florida and…

|News 30/3/2022

Right Whale Protection Measures Renewed for 2022

On Thursday, March 10, Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced the protection measures that will be put in place this year…

|News 28/3/2022

An Oral Plug to Prevent Whales from Choking on Seawater

The rorqual family includes the largest animals on the planet. In order to satisfy their gargantuan energy needs by gulping…

|News 24/2/2022