[MARMAM] New Paper: Assessing the Risk of Ships Striking Large Whales in Marine Spatial Planning

Jessica Redfern jessica.redfern at noaa.gov
Mon Mar 25 11:28:15 PDT 2013

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce publication of the following paper:
Redfern, J. V., M. F. McKenna, T. J. Moore, J. Calambokidis, M. L. 
DeAngelis, E. A. Becker, J. Barlow, K. A. Forney, P. C. Fiedler, and S. 
J. Chivers. 2013. Assessing the risk of ships striking large whales in 
marine spatial planning. Conservation Biology 27:292-302.

The abstract appears below.  Please contact me 
(Jessica.Redfern at noaa.gov), if you would like a copy of the PDF.




Marine spatial planning provides a comprehensive framework for managing 
multiple uses of the marine environment and has the potential to 
minimize environmental impacts and reduce conflicts among 
users.Spatially explicit assessments of the risks to key marine species 
from human activities are a requirement of marine spatial planning.We 
assessed the risk of ships striking humpback (/Megaptera novaeangliae/), 
blue (/Balaenoptera musculus/), and fin (/B. physalus/) whales in 
alternative shipping routes derived from patterns of shipping traffic 
off Southern California (U.S.A.).Specifically, we developed 
whale-habitat models and assumed ship-strike risk for the alternative 
shipping routes was proportional to the number of whales predicted by 
the models to occur within each route.This definition of risk assumes 
all ships travel within a single route.We also calculated risk assuming 
ships travel via multiple routes.We estimated the potential for conflict 
between shipping and other uses (military training and fishing) due to 
overlap with the routes.We also estimated the overlap between shipping 
routes and protected areas.The route with the lowest risk for humpback 
whales had the highest risk for fin whales and vice versa.Risk to both 
species may be ameliorated by creating a new route south of the northern 
Channel Islands and spreading traffic between this new route and the 
existing route in the Santa Barbara Channel.Creating a longer route may 
reduce the overlap between shipping and other uses by concentrating 
shipping traffic.Blue whales are distributed more evenly across our 
study area than humpback and fin whales; thus, risk could not be 
ameliorated by concentrating shipping traffic in any of the routes we 
considered.Reducing ship-strike risk for blue whales may be necessary 
because our assessment of the potential number of strikes suggests that 
they are likely to exceed allowable levels of anthropogenic impacts 
established under U.S. laws.


Jessica V. Redfern, Ph.D.
Ecosystem Studies Program Leader
Marine Mammal and Turtle Division
Southwest Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
8901 La Jolla Shores Dr.
La Jolla, California  92037

phone: 858-546-7117
fax: 858-546-7003


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