The Regional Activity Centre for the Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife for the Wider Caribbean Region
Caribbean Environment Program
DEAL Guadeloupe
United Nations Environment Programme
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MEGARA NorthWest Indies 2014

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Where do the humpback whales that frequent our waters from January to June come from? North America, Europe? What do they do in the Northern Islands?

Further to the satellite tags deployed by the NGO Breach, the University Antilles-Guyane and NOAA in Guadeloupe from 2010 to 2012, a first scientific mission in the Northern Islands, called Megara, has sought to answer these questions during a campaign at sea that took place from March 25th to April 3rd, 2014. The mission, that benefits from the approval of the Agoa sanctuary, has consisted in deploying 8Argos satellite tags on humpback whales and in taking a dozen biopsies (skin and blubber samples) from this species.

Mother with her calf

The marine protected area managers in the Northern Islands, among which the natural reserves of St Martin and St Barthélémy, principals of the project with the assistance of the SPAW-RAC, have been part of this expedition that aims to improve our knowledge of these species in order to better protect them. Beyond the involvement of scientific experts in tagging and skin sampling, the project includes an important educational component since the data collected from the Argos satellite tags will be used (and are already being used) to sensitize pupils to cetaceans, thanks to a partnership with the NGO My school, my whale (Mon école, ma baleine).

Biopsy and tag team

We also want to thank the various partners who have participated in, and funded, the expedition, including for the Caribbean the Dutch Government, the Environmental Agency of St Bart, and the Marine Foundation of St Maarten.
You can follow the tagged whales on :

Asset competitive group

Please find attached the report of the Mission MEGARA written by Dr. Sabrina Fossette.

Final report MEGARA