[MARMAM] New publication on potential ship strikes and density of humpback whales

Carolina Bezamat de Abreu carolinabezamat at gmail.com
Tue Oct 21 03:02:21 PDT 2014

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the following paper has been published

Bezamat C., Wedekin L. L., and Simões-Lopes P. C. (2014) Potential ship
strikes and density of humpback whales in the Abrolhos Bank breeding
ground, Brazil, Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., doi:
10.1002/aqc.2523 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aqc.2523>.


   1. Ship strikes are one of the major threats to large whales worldwide.
   The potential impact from increasing vessel traffic therefore is a concern
   for the future of the Brazilian humpback whale (*Megaptera novaeangliae*)
   2. In order to evaluate the risk of collision between large vessels and
   humpback whales along coastal shipping routes in the region of the Abrolhos
   Bank – the most important breeding ground for the species in the
   south-western Atlantic Ocean – commercial vessels were used as platforms of
   opportunity to monitor the coastal shipping routes.
   3. Humpback whale density along coastal routes was estimated through
   multiple covariate line-transect ‘distance sampling’. The number of
   potential collisions per year was estimated using a model based on vessel
   size and speed, track lengths, population density and the surfacing
   behaviour of whales.
   4. During the peak of the 2011 breeding season, whale density on the
   coastal route between Belmonte and Caravelas was estimated to be 0.085
   whales km-2 and between Caravelas and Barra do Riacho, 0.023 whales km-2.
   5. The three commercial vessels operating in coastal waters between
   Belmonte and Barra do Riacho had the potential to collide with 25 humpback
   whales in total, and kill 17 of these, during the 2011 breeding season.
   6. As vessel traffic increases in the Abrolhos Bank region and humpback
   whale population grows, the likelihood of a vessel collision will increase.
   7. A simple and effective framework to study how changes in whale
   density will affect their vulnerability to ship strikes, and ensure the
   suitability of alternative shipping routes is presented, while evaluating
   whether additional mitigation measures are necessary, such as speed limits
   in areas or periods with higher densities of whales.

You can download the pdf at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.2523/abstract or contact me
via email at carolinabezamat at gmail.com for a copy.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Best regards,

Carolina Bezamat

Laboratório de Mamíferos Aquáticos (LAMAq)
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
Instituto Baleia Jubarte
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