[MARMAM] New paper on North Atlantic killer whales

Daniel Pike kinguq at gmail.com
Wed Dec 9 10:40:53 PST 2020

We are pleased to announce the publication of our paper:
Pike, D. G., Gunnlaugsson, T., Mikkelsen, B., Víkingsson, G., & Desportes,
G. (2020). Distribution and Abundance of Killer Whales in the Central North
Atlantic, 1987-2015. *NAMMCO Scientific Publications*, *11*.

The North Atlantic Sightings Surveys (NASS), covering a large but variable
portion of the Central and Eastern North Atlantic, were conducted in 1987,
1989, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2015. Sightings of killer whales (Orcinus orca),
a non-target species, were relatively rare in the Central Atlantic
(Icelandic and Faroese) portions of the survey area. In cases where
sighting numbers were insufficient, we pooled sightings over several
surveys to derive a distance detection function and used this to estimate
abundance using standard Distance Sampling methodology. Uncorrected
estimates were produced for all surveys, and estimates corrected for
perception bias were produced for the 2001 and 2015 surveys. Killer whales
were sighted in all areas but were most common in the eastern part of the
survey area. Uncorrected abundance in the NASS core area ranged from a low
of 4,736 (95% CI: 1,842–12,176) in 1995 to a maximum of 15,142 (95% CI:
6,003–38,190) in 2001. The low precision of the estimates makes the
detection of temporal trends unlikely. In 2007 an extension survey revealed
relatively high numbers of killer whales to the east of the survey area, in
conformity with Norwegian survey estimates in this area. The NASS and other
surveys conducted over the period indicate that killer whales number in the
low tens of thousands in the Central and Eastern North Atlantic.

Daniel Pike.
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