Nature Foundation re-launches Third Annual Marine Mammal Research Project


Partners with Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten to bring awareness on Marine Mammals in territorial waters.

The St. Maarten Nature Foundation is once again conducting its Marine Mammal Monitoring project which will last from January until May. The Nature Foundation, in cooperation with Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten, will be conducting a wide scale census of all Marine Mammals found in St. Maarten/ St. Martin territorial waters, including within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park.



"Many on St. Maarten might not be aware that there is a relatively significant Marine Mammal population in the waters surrounding St. Maarten, including numerous species of whales and dolphins. St. Maarten lies within the area of the Western Atlantic where various whale species come to give birth to their young. From February to May several hundreds of Humpback Whales migrate from the northern Atlantic to areas within the Caribbean to give birth and nurse their young before heading back up north", read a statement from the Nature Foundation.

Numerous other species of whale and dolphin, including sperm whales and several types of dolphins, make their home in local waters. Several questions are hoped to be answered as a result of the study, including most numerous species, migration routes and dates, and the feasibility of regulated wild whale and dolphin watching trips. This year the Nature Foundation will once again be partnering with Dolphin Defenders St. Maarten to bring greater awareness to the general public about St. Maarten’s wild Marine Mammal Population and conservation issues faced by Marine Mammals in local waters.

The most abundant Maine Mammal species recorded in 2012 was the Humpback Whale, with the total number recorded at 41 individuals, including calves. The second most abundant species was the Bottle Nose Dolphin, with total of 21 individuals; the third most abundant species recorded was the Long Snouted Spinner Dolphin with 15 individuals recorded within the island’s territorial waters. During research conducted in conjunction with the French Marine Reserve and the AGOA Marine Mammal Sanctuary, The Nature Foundation also observed numerous Sperm Whales including mothers with young. Using acoustic research and visual observations researchers are now trying to determine if there is a Sperm Whale travelling route in the deep waters between St. Maarten and Saba.

The Man of War Shoal Marine Park had a considerable number of recordings of both whale and dolphin species which adds considerably to the biological value of the Park. Acoustic recordings of Male Humpback Whales singing were also taken at various points in the waters surrounding St. Maarten, and the public is urged to listen to the local whale songs and look at video and photo of marine mammals in our local waters by looking at the Nature Foundation YouTube clip Nature Foundation Marine Mammal Research 2012.

If the public is interested in participating in the marine Mammal census they can send an email to ma*****@na*****************.org and request a sighting form. Various charter boat and dive operators have been given copies of forms which they will distribute to their clients.