[MARMAM] New Publication: Vessel collision injuries on live humpback whales

Alex alexn.hill at gmail.com
Sat Apr 1 10:51:19 PDT 2017

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

It is with great pleasure my co-authors and I would like to announce our
recent publication in Marine Mammal Science, available in early view online:

Alex N. Hill, Caitlin Karniski, Jooke Robbins, Tom Pitchford, Sean Todd, &
Regina Asmitis-Silvia. 2017. Vessel collision injuries on live humpback
whales, *Megaptera novaeangliae*, in the southern Gulf of Maine. Marine
Mammal Science http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mms.12386/full

North Atlantic humpback whales (*Megaptera novaeangliae*) in the Gulf of
Maine overlap with both recreational and commercial vessel activity. Vessel
strikes are one source of anthropogenic impact that has the potential to
inhibit the recovery of this protected species. There are currently no
regulations or guidelines specifically devised to reduce the likelihood of
collisions for vessels transiting in the vicinity of humpback whales,
except for vessels actively engaged in whale-watching. To better understand
interactions between vessels and humpback whales, we analyzed injuries on
624 individuals photographed in the southern Gulf of Maine from 2004-2013.
Multiple reviewers evaluated 210,733 photos for five categories of injury
consistent with a vessel strike. In total, 14.7% (n = 92) of individuals
photographed showed injuries consistent with one or more vessel strikes.
These results likely underestimate vessel collision rates and impacts
because multiple events, events resulting in mortality, and those that
involved only blunt force trauma could not be detected. Nevertheless, our
results indicate that vessel strikes are under-reported and that healing is
dependent on the severity and location of the injury. We recommend that a
management strategy be developed for all classes of vessels transiting in
the vicinity of whales.

For more information please send requests to: alexn.hill at gmail.com

Thank you,
Alex Hill
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