Community-Based Observations of Marine Mammal Occurrences in Groswater Bay, Labrador


  • Keith G. Chaulk Labrador Institute, Department of Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, P.O. Box 382 Station C, Goose Bay, Labrador A0P 1C0
  • Daniel Michelin General Delivery, Rigolet, Labrador A0P 1P0
  • Melva Williams General Delivery, Rigolet, Labrador A0P 1P0
  • Tony Wolfrey General Delivery, Rigolet, Labrador A0P 1P0



seal, whale, Harp Seal, Pagophilus groenlandicus, Common Minke Whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Ringed Seal, Pusa hispida, Beluga Whale, Delphinapterus leucas, Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, marine mammal, biodiversity, Inuit, Lake Melville


Experienced observers from the community of Rigolet, Newfoundland and Labrador, recorded marine mammal observations at Rigolet on the coast of Labrador from July to September 2012. During this study, a total of nine species of marine mammals were documented. A daily average of 2.6 (range 1–5) marine mammal species were observed, with Harp Seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and Common Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) being the most common. The area is thought to be regionally important for Ringed Seal (Pusa hispida) whelping; however, Ringed Seals were not observed in large numbers. Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were also reported anecdotally, but were less common than the other species, with the possible exception of the Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Labrador is experiencing significant industrial growth related to hydroelectric development and offshore oil and gas exploration. These data should aid environmental assessment and environmental effects monitoring and assist researchers in understanding regional marine mammal ecology, including species diversity, seasonal occurrence, and relative abundance.