[MARMAM] New Publication: Ship strike risk to migrating humpback whales in Australia

Raphael Mayaud raphael.mayaud at griffithuni.edu.au
Tue Oct 11 21:12:35 PDT 2022


Dear Colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share the following publication in Marine Policy:

Mayaud, R., Castrillon, J., Wilson, C., Peel, D., Smith, J. N., Allen, J., Bengtson Nash, S., (2022). Traffic in a nursery: Ship strike risk from commercial vessels to migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in a rapidly developing Australian urban embayment', Marine Policy, 146(September), p. 105332. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2022.105332

Abstract
The rapid recovery of the Australian humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) population and parallel increase in maritime traffic, has increased the spatial overlap between whales and vessels in Australian waters. Ship strike is a recognized global anthropogenic source of mortality or injury to large whales and a potentially increasing risk in Australia. However, our understanding and evaluation of this threat to humpback whales around Australia is hindered by the lack of seasonal whale distribution data in high marine traffic areas. Here, we present five consecutive years (2017-2021) of both north and south migrating humpback whale distribution data to quantify the relative risk of ship strike based on the co-occurrence with commercial ships in Moreton Bay. This marine embayment is home to Australia's fastest-growing container port (The Port of Brisbane) and has recently been identified for its ecological importance to this migrating species. We quantified co-occurrence by multiplying predicted whale and ship densities together to estimate both intra- and inter-annual ship strike risk. Ship strike risk increased during the humpback whale's southern migration (September-October), coinciding with a substantial habitat shift into the Bay during this time. Groups containing calves were a predominant pod type in Moreton Bay. Given their increased vulnerability to ship strike, this study underscores the need for immediate and effective mitigation actions, such as seasonal vessel speed reductions as well as mariner education and outreach programs.

The publication can be accessed via this link https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1fv4U,714Mn9LL<https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1fv4U,714Mn9LL> or  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X22003797?dgcid=author. Please feel free to email raphael.mayaud at griffithuni.edu.au<mailto:raphael.mayaud at griffithuni.edu.au> for a copy.

Kind regards,

Raphael

Raphael Mayaud
Ph.D. Candidate
Southern Ocean Persistent Organic Pollutants Program
Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security | School of Environment & Science | Griffith University
Email: raphael.mayaud at griffithuni.edu.au<mailto:raphael.mayaud at griffithuni.edu.au> | Mobile: +61 (0) 492 903 994

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