[MARMAM] New paper on the distribution and movements of North Pacific fin whales

Sally Mizroch Sally.Mizroch at noaa.gov
Tue Sep 29 10:02:31 PDT 2009

Hi all, 
My coauthors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our new paper
on the distribution and movements of North Pacific fin whales.  

Mizroch, S. A., D. Rice, D. Zwiefelhofer, J. Waite and W. Perryman.  2009.
Distribution and movements of fin whales in the North Pacific Ocean.
Mammal Review 39(3):193-227

The paper can be downloaded directly from:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122607981/issue, or you may
contact me directly at sally.mizroch at noaa.gov.
1. We summarize fin whale Balaenoptera physalus catch statistics, sighting
data, mark recoveries and acoustics data. The annual cycle of most
populations of fin whales had been thought to entail regular migrations
between high-latitude summer feeding grounds and lower-latitude winter
grounds. Here we present evidence of more complex and varied movement

2. During summer, fin whales range from the Chukchi Sea south to 35 °N on
the Sanriku coast of Honshu, to the Subarctic Boundary (ca. 42 °N) in the
western and central Pacific, and to 32 °N off the coast of California.
Catches show concentrations in seven areas which we refer to as 'grounds',
representing productive feeding areas.

3. During winter months, whales have been documented over a wide area from
60 °N south to 23 °N. Coastal whalers took them regularly in all winter
months around Korea and Japan and they have been seen regularly in winter
off southern California and northern Baja California. There are also
numerous fin whale sightings and acoustic detections north of 40 °N during
winter months. Calves are born during the winter, but there is little
evidence for distinct calving areas.

4. Whales implanted with Discovery-type marks were killed in whaling
operations, and location data from 198 marked whales demonstrate local site
fidelity, consistent movements within and between the main summer grounds
and long migrations from low-latitude winter grounds to high-latitude summer

5. The distributional data agree with immunogenetic and marking findings
which suggest that the migratory population segregates into at least two
demes with separate winter mating grounds: a western ground off the coast of
Asia and an eastern one off the American coast. Members of the two demes
probably mingle in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands area.

6. Prior research had suggested that there were at least two non-migratory
stocks of fin whale: one in the East China Sea and another in the Gulf of
California. There is equivocal evidence for the existence of additional
non-migratory groups in the Sanriku-Hokkaido area off Japan and possibly the
northern Sea of Japan, but this is based on small sample sizes.

Best regards,
Sally A. Mizroch
Alaska Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Mammal Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Bldg 4
Seattle, WA  98115, USA
voice: (206) 526-4030
fax:  (206) 526-6615
e-mail: Sally.Mizroch at noaa.gov

The contents of this message are mine personally and do not necessarily
reflect any position of NOAA.

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