The Marine Mammal Observation Network (ROMM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of cetaceans and seals of the St. Lawrence, and their habitats. This mission his achieved through planning, management and monitoring knowledge-building projects, as well as conservation, education and awareness-raising initiatives throughout the ROMM's territory, which covers a significant portion of the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. ROMM was originally created by Parc Bas-Saint-Laurent corporation in 1998 and was officially incorporated in March 2004.
The primary objective of its creation was to provide a database of cetacean and seal observations in the waters of the Lower St. Lawrence, from Kamouraska to Rimouski. Right from the beginning of this environmental observation project, organizations from different backgrounds joined the movement by collecting data on marine mammals and other species on a voluntary basis throughout their regular observation season. Conservation parks, companies offering boat trips and sea excursions, ferry and cargo ships are grouped under the name "Observer Members of ROMM." Over the years, new observers are added to the network members and the territory covered grows. In 2014, the ROMM has twenty members in its ranks that are spread over the entire territory of maritime Quebec.
In addition to its observer member's network, the ROMM carries out knowledge-building projects. The scientific data collected by teams of trained technicians are grouped under the activity called "activities of observation at sea - AOM." The ROMM "AOM" data follow a rigorous scientific protocol for describing and understanding the interactions between companies offering observation activities at sea and the marine mammals they observe. The ROMM has been collecting data on cetacean and seal frequentation in the territorial waters of the Gaspé Peninsula since 2006 and in the south of the St. Lawrence upper estuary since 2014.
The crowdsourcing Web Application created in association with the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) will expand ROMM'S database with data known as "citizens data" or "community data", that is to say, unscientific. Starting in July 2014, the public is invited to participate in the collection of information on marine mammals of the St. Lawrence by visiting the platform developed by SLGO. By doing so, all citizens interested in marine mammals and concerned about their future can now participate in the collection of information on observed marine mammals, either from a boat, from the coast or during underwater diving. We also invite people to send us their observations of rare species such as leatherback turtles, basking sharks, ocean sunfish or bluefin tuna, four species that can be occasionally seen in the St. Lawrence.