[MARMAM] New publication on Co-occurrence of gray whales and vessel traffic (Gregory Silber)

Greg Silber gregsilber2 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 2 13:11:18 PST 2021


Colleagues:



My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recent publication:
Co-occurrence of gray whales and vessel traffic in the North Pacific Ocean.
The paper is open access and is available at:
https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v44/p177-201/



Silber GK, Weller DW, Reeves RR, Adams JD, Moore TJ. 2021. Co-occurrence of
gray whales and vessel traffic in the North Pacific Ocean. Endang Species
Res 44:177-201.

https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01093

and
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347168620_Co-occurrence_of_gray_whales_and_vessel_traffic_in_the_North_Pacific_Ocean



ABSTRACT: All species of large whales are susceptible to vessel strikes,
but the true scale and geographical extent of such strikes is not known.
This paper provides a qualitative assessment of the range-wide risks posed
to gray whales Eschrichtius robustus by vessels, by comparing patterns of
whale distribution with the density of vessel traffic seasonally throughout
the North Pacific in 2019. Areas of very high vessel density were evident
year-round near many coastlines, along inter-continental trade routes, and
at hubs of commercial shipping near port entrances. Gray whales were
exposed to vessel strikes throughout their range and in their feeding,
southbound migration, wintering, and northbound migration periods. Areas of
apparently high risk were in the Russian Far East (Kamchatka peninsula and
Okhotsk Sea), Bering Sea (including the Aleutian Islands), Gulf of Alaska,
and along the entire west coast of North America. Risk appeared greatest
during south- and northbound migration when much of the gray whale
population is moving through waters near shore. Tanker, container, and
bulk-carrier ships represent considerable risk to whales in the North
Pacific Ocean, but the large geographical extent of commercial fishing
activities suggests that fisheries are also a substantial source of risk.
Vessel-strike risk maps indicate the relative extent of exposure of gray
(and other) whales to underwater vessel noise. The number of gray whales
killed by ship strikes each year may be in the tens, or perhaps the low
hundreds. Additional analyses, including quantitative assessments, are
warranted to further clarify the risk of vessel strikes to gray whales.



Gregory Silber

gregsilber2 at gmail.com
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