Extensive whale survey has begun

A northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). Photo from Shutterstock. A northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). Photo from Shutterstock.

Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI) began extensive whale survey recently off the Icelandic coastline when the research ship Árni Friðriksson HF 200 docked from Hafnarfjörður.

These whale surveys are a part of the so-called NASS sightings surveys (North Atlantic Sighting Survey), which have been carried out regularly since 1987. This summer's surveys are the seventh in the series. In addition to Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland participate in the surveys, but in addition, Canada and Scotland have similar surveys at the same time. The survey are organized by the North Atlantic Mammal Council (NAMMCO), with the participation of all nations, and the methodology is reviewed by external experts. The surveys are one of the most comprehensive wildlife surveys in the world, as the survey area is very extensive (see map below).


Whale counting app and dashboard available for the public

MFRI´s new whale counting app has recently been implemented after extensive development and preparation work by the MFRI´s development team. The first version of the app is currently being used and tested on the research vessel Árni Friðriksson HF 200 and has proven to be successful. Until now paper, a pencil and a voice recorder have been used to register the spotted whales. As soon as researchers have spotted a whale and logged into the system, information on the status of counts is updated. The app transmits data directly to MFRI via web services. The team designed a Whale Counting Dashboard simultaneously that graphically shows the status of whale counts at any given time.

MFRI´s researches Sverrir Daniel Halldosson og David Tomas Davidsson.

Halldór Jens, one of the programmes who took part in the software development, says that it was a great pleasure to take part in the making of the whale counting app and thus to play a part in making whale counts more modern than before. MFRI is also proud to announce that Havstofvan in the Faroe Islands is also trial-running the app in its whale counting parallel with MFRI.

The Whale Count Dashboard based on information from the app is publicly available via this link, click here.

Here you can see the location of the MFRI´s research ships at any given time.

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