[MARMAM] New publication: Day-night differences in fin whale ship-strike risk (California Current)

Eric Keen ericmkeen at gmail.com
Tue Dec 3 14:36:23 PST 2019

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share news of a recent publication in
Frontiers in Marine Science:

Keen EM, Scales KL, Rone BK, Hazen EL, Falcone EA and Schorr GS (2019)
Night and Day: Diel Differences in Ship Strike Risk for Fin Whales
(Balaenoptera physalus) in the California Current System. Front. Mar. Sci.
6:730. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00730

Link to paper (full open-access):

Collisions with ships (ship strikes) are a pressing conservation concern
for fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) along western North America. Fin
whales exhibit strong diel patterns in dive behavior, remaining near the
surface for most of the night, but how this behavior affects ship-strike
risk is unknown. We combined diel patterns of surface use, habitat
suitability predictions, and ship traffic data to evaluate spatial and
temporal trends in ship-strike risk to fin whales of the California Current
System (CCS). We tested a range of surface-use scenarios and found that
both increased use of the upper water column and increased ship traffic
contribute to elevated ship-strike risk at night. Lengthening nights
elevate risk during winter throughout the CCS, though the Southern
California Bight experienced consistently high risk both day and night
year-round. Within designated shipping lanes, total annual nighttime strike
risk was twice daytime risk. Avoidance probability models based on ship
speed were used to compare the potential efficacy of speed restrictions at
various scales. Speed reductions within lanes may be an efficient
remediation, but they would address only a small fraction (13%) of overall
ship-strike risk. Additional speed restrictions in the approaches to lanes
would more effectively reduce overall risk.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Best wishes,
Eric Keen
ericmkeen at gmail.com

Eric M Keen <http://www.emkeen.org>

Biologist, Marine Ecology & Telemetry Research
Department of Earth & Environmental Systems, Sewanee: The University of the
Science Director, North Coast Cetacean Society
Editor, Aquatic Mammals Journal
Co-Founder, International Manatee Day
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