[MARMAM] Abstracts - Journal of Cetacean Research and Management Vol. 10(3), 2008

Dagmar Fertl dagmar_fertl at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 23 08:24:19 PDT 2009

Dear Marmam and ECS-listserve subscribers,
Apologies to those of you who will receive duplicate emails due to cross-posting.  The International Whaling Commission (IWC) publishes The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management thrice yearly (Spring, Autumn, and Winter), with at least one supplement that will contain the full report of the IWC Scientific Committee. The following is posted on behalf of the IWC and the journal editor.
Further information can be found at: http://www.iwcoffice.org/publications/JCRM.htm. A guide for authors is included in the first volume of each issue and on the IWC website: http://www.iwcoffice.org/publications/authorsguide.htm. 
Please do not contact me or the listserve editors for pdfs. Email addresses are provided for the corresponding authors.
With regards,
Dagmar Fertl
Ziphius EcoServices
Punt, A.E. 2008. A note on the modelling of MSY-related parameters when population dynamics are stochastic. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):183-189.
Contact email: aepunt at u.washington.edu
A method is outlined for calculating the values for the parameters which determine MSYR and MSYL in the types of population dynamics models on which Implementation Simulation Trials and Evaluation Trials are based in the face of environmental variability in fecundity (birth rate) and survival. The method is illustrated using a minke whale-like biology in which MSYR is defined in terms of
harvesting of the mature female component of the population. Results are shown for various levels of environmental variation in survival and fecundity.
Aldrin, M., R. Bang Huseby, and T. Schweder. 2008. A note on tuning the Catch Limit Algorithm for commercial baleen whaling. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):191-194.
Contact email: magne.aldrin at nr.no
The Catch Limit Algorithm for commercial baleen whaling developed by the International Whaling Commission converges slowly to a steady depletion (proportion of carrying capacity), and consequently 300 years of management is proposed as horizon for tuning and computer simulation. Long-term depletion is rather insensitive to the parameter currently used for tuning, and an alternative control parameter is suggested for this purpose.
Rugh, D.J.*, W.R. Koski, J.C. George, and J.E. Zeh. 2008. Interyear re-identifications of bowhead whales during their spring migration past Point Barrow, Alaska, 1984-1994. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):195–200.
*contact email: Dave.Rugh at noaa.gov
As a part of a review of bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) stocks, a study was conducted to evaluate how much mixing occurs in the whales’ spring migration, a period which immediately follows the mating season. This study has used aerial photography of bowhead whales during their spring migration near Point Barrow, which has resulted in 5,800 images, primarily from 1984 through 1994. These photographs included 40 different whales seen in at least two years, and of these, two were seen in three different years, making for a pair-wise sample size of 42 matches between years. Differences between dates of initial sightings and subsequent sightings (i.e. resightings) ranged from -31 to +23 days comparing month and day only, irrespective of year. These resightings were well dispersed across most of the bowhead spring migration; 98% of the photographs were taken across 45 days from 19 April through 2 June. Models for predicting resighting date from initial sighting date, whale length, presence of a calf, year of initial sighting and year of subsequent sightings were considered, and the best model was chosen using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC). The best model included most predictors but did not include initial sighting date. Thus, all of the available evidence indicates that individual mature bowheads do not have a consistent migration timing past Barrow; instead, in subsequent years they may appear on almost any date within the normal migratory period. This wide mixing and near-random distribution of resighting dates throughout the spring migration is indicative of a single stock of whales that have a somewhat plastic schedule.
Lowry, L.F., K.J. Frost, A. Zerbini, D. DeMaster, and R.R. Reeves. 2008. Trend in aerial counts of beluga or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Bristol Bay, Alaska, 1993-2005. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):201-207.
Contact email: llowry at hawaii.rr.com
Thirty-eight aerial surveys of beluga or white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were conducted in Bristol Bay, Alaska, during six different years between 1993 and 2005. Belugas were sighted mainly close to shore in the upper parts of Nushagak and Kvichak bays, as well as along the coast between these bays and in the lower parts of major rivers. Data from 28 complete counts made in good or excellent survey conditions were analysed for trend. Counts ranged from 264 to 1,067. The estimated rate of increase over the 12-year period was 4.8%/year (95% CI = 2.1%-7.5%). Such a rate of increase suggests that either the population was below the environmental carrying capacity in the early 1990s or, alternatively, that factors that had been limiting population increase were alleviated after that time. A review of possible changes in human-caused mortality, predation and prey availability did not reveal a single likely cause of the increase. Among the factors that could have played a role are recovery from research kills in the 1960s, a modest decline in subsistence removals and a delayed response to increases in Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) abundance in the 1980s. The positive growth rate for this population shows that in recent years there has been no substantial negative impact of human or natural factors, acting either alone or in combination, and there is no need for changes to the current management regime.
Afsal, V.V., K.S.S.M. Yousuf, B. Anoop, A.K. Anoop, P. Kannan, M. Rajagopalan, and E. Vivekanandan. 2008. A note on cetacean distribution in the Indian EEZ and contiguous seas during 2003-07. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):209-215.
Contact email: vafsal at gmail.com
Relatively little is known about the distribution of cetaceans in Indian seas due to lack of systematic surveys. For collecting data on species distribution, 35 opportunistic surveys were conducted onboard FORV Sagar Sampada between October 2003 and February 2007 in the Indian EEZ and contiguous seas. In 5,254 hours of sighting effort, a total of 473 cetacean records were made with 5,865 individuals. The
occurrence of 10 species from three cetacean families was confirmed. The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin was the most frequently sighted species, whereas the spinner dolphin was dominant in terms of abundance. Long-beaked common dolphins, Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphin and sperm whales were also recorded at frequent intervals. Cetaceans were found to have a wide geographical distribution in the Indian EEZ and contiguous seas. High abundance and species richness were recorded in the Southeastern Arabian Sea and southern Sri Lankan waters. From the information collected during the present study, the platform of opportunity has proved to be a useful means for cetacean survey.
Palka, D.L.*, M.C. Rossman, A.S. VanAtten, and C.D. Orphanides. 2008. Effect of pingers on harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) bycatch in the US Northeast gillnet fishery. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):217–226.
Contact email: Debra.Palka at noaa.gov
Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) bycatch in the US Northeast gillnet fishery is managed under the Harbour Porpoise Take Reduction Plan (HPTRP), which was implemented on 1 January 1999. The HPTRP divides this fishery into management areas that are either completely closed to all gillnets or closed only to gillnets that do not use pingers. Questions about pingers that have arisen include: (1) would pingers be as effective in an operational fishery as in controlled scientific experiments; (2) would the fishery comply with these regulations; and (3) would harbour porpoises habituate to pingers? To investigate these questions, data from over 25,000 gillnet hauls observed by the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program after the implementation of the HPTRP, 1999-2007, were examined. In a 1994 controlled scientific experiment conducted in part of this fishery that used 15cm mesh gillnets, the bycatch rate in pingered nets was 92% less than that in nets without pingers. In contrast, in the operational fishery, the bycatch reduction in pingered nets was 50-70%, depending on the time, area and mesh size. In particular, there was no observed bycatch in pingered nets that used the same mesh size as used in the experiment. Thus, it seem that the apparent decrease in pinger effectiveness in the operational fishery was partially due to the type of gillnet used and lack of compliance. Pinger usage started out high in 1999 (the first year required), dropped substantially during 2003-05 and perhaps due to outreach activities increased beginning in 2006. During years of high pinger usage, 87% of the tested pingers were functional, while only 36% of the tested pingers were functional during years of low pinger usage. In general, as expected, observed bycatch rates in hauls without pingers were greater than bycatch rates in hauls with the required number of pingers. Unexpectedly, bycatch rates of observed hauls with an incomplete set of pingers were higher that in observed hauls without pingers. Confounding factors that could partially explain this apparently contrary result are discussed. There was no evidence for temporal trends in the bycatch rates, suggesting that harbour porpoises had not habituated to the pingers. In conclusion, in the US Northeast gillnet fishery, harbour porpoises do not appear to have habituated to pingers, and pingers appear to have reduced the bycatch rate, particularly when the required number of pingers were used and in nets using mesh sizes of 15cm or less.
Berrow, S., R. Cosgrove, R.H. Leeney, J. O’Brien, D. McGrath, J. Dalgard, and Y. Le Gall. 2008. Effect of acoustic deterrents on the behaviour of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):227–233.
Contact email: simon.berrow at shannondolphins.ie
Not all delphinids are similarly affected by acoustic deterrent devices (pingers). At-sea trials were carried out to assess a range of acoustic signals and deterrents on the behaviour of common dolphins. In initial tests two acoustic deterrent devices, which previously produced an evasive response by bottlenose dolphins, failed to elicit any similar behaviour in common dolphins. A new signal output device, which permitted a range of signals to be tested at various source levels and characteristics was subsequently developed but again no significant effects on the behaviour of common dolphins were observed. Two commercially available acoustic deterrents, which had deterred common dolphins in previous studies, produced an occasional mild evasive response. Significant modification of the signal type or source level may be more effective, but our results suggest that pingers, at their current state of development, may not provide a consistently effective deterrent signal for common dolphins.
Trippel, E.A.*, N.L. Holy and T.D. Shepherd. 2008. Barium sulphate modified fishing gear as a mitigative measure for cetacean incidental mortalities. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):235-246.
Contact email: edward.trippel at dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Incidental mortality from entanglements in fishing gear in threatening cetacean populations worldwide. In eastern Canadian waters, entanglement deaths of the critically endangered transboundary North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) are a key conservation concern and incidental mortalities of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in gillnets are a major source of mortality. Since the 1990s, a number of mitigation techniques to reduce mortalities in both species have been tested and the use of some in the US commercial fishery have been legislated. Despite this, the North Atlantic right whale population remains in a precarious state and entanglement deaths of harbour porpoise have been increasing in recent years. Further, mitigation devices, such as acoustic alarms, carry with them concerns about habituation, noise pollution, maintenance requirements and cost. The modifying of the physical characteristics of commercial fishing gear has shown some promise at reducing entanglement mortalities in initial testing while avoiding many of the drawbacks of other mitigation methods. In this study the current state of development and effectiveness of mitigation techniques through the addition of barium sulphate to fishing gear rope and twine was investigated. The development of neutrally buoyant groundline, through the addition of barium sulphate, was undertaken in order to reduce the probability of large whale entanglement in lobster pot gear. The resulting product maintained a much lower profile in the water column relative to traditional polypropylene groundline, however, it was found unsuitable for hard-bottom areas as it was susceptible to chaffing and breaking. In order to reduce mortalities once large whales are entangled, a weak rope was developed again with the addition of barium sulphate. The breaking strength of this product was found to be 1,065 lb, which meets the US legislated limits (1,100 lb), as opposed to traditional polypropylene rope which had a breaking strength of over 2,400 lb. To meet the challenge of harbour porpoise entanglements, a gillnet twine was developed to have an increased acoustic profile and a more stiff form through the addition of barium sulphate. In field testing trials, the barium sulphate modified gillnets reduced harbour porpoise bycatch and the minimal effects on targeted groundfishes. Although they are in an early state of development, barium sulphate modified fishing gear shows promise at reducing entanglement deaths of cetaceans.
Reeves, R.R.*, T.D. Smith, and E.A. Josephson. 2008. Observations of western gray whales by ship-based whalers in the 19th century. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 10(3):247-256.
Contact email: rrreeves at okapis.ca
Animals belonging to the small, endangered population of western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) are observed today primarily during the summer open-water season in feeding areas off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia. The migration route(s) and wintering area(s) used by this population are largely unknown. Gray whales once had a fairly extensive distribution in the Sea of Okhotsk but little detailed information has been published on when and where they occurred. Open-boat, ship-based whalers from the United States and a few other countries conducted an intensive hunt for bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica) in the Sea of Okhotsk from the 1840s to 1970s. According to entries in voyage logbooks, the American whalers regularly encountered (and sometimes hunted) gray whales in the far northeastern corner of the Okhotsk Sea (Shelikhov Bay, Gizhiginskaya Bay and Penzhinskaya Gulf) between early May-late August. They also observed gray whales in summer along the northern coast of the sea (especially Tauskaya Bay), around the Shantar Islands, in Sakhalin Bay, off Cape Elizabeth at the northern tip of Sakhalin Island and along the west coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. No evidence was found in the logbooks studied of gray whales (and indeed of whaling effort) off northeastern Sakhalin Island where most observations of gray whales occur in the present day.

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