[MARMAM] New publication: A long-term shift in the summer distribution of Hector’s dolphins is correlated with an increase in cruise ship tourism

William Carome william.carome at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 08:04:40 PDT 2022

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of a paper on
long-term trends in distribution of Hector's dolphins in the most recent
volume of Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The
citation and abstract are given below and the full .pdf is available via
Open Access at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/aqc.3881

Carome, W., Slooten, E., Rayment, W., Webster, T., Wickman, L., Brough, T. et
al. (2022). A long-term shift in the summer distribution of Hector’s
dolphins is correlated with an increase in cruise ship tourism. *Aquatic
Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems*, 32( 10), 1660– 1674.

Before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, cruise ship tourism had been one of the
fastest growing segments of global tourism, presenting a range of potential
impacts. At Akaroa Harbour, Aotearoa New Zealand, the number of annual
cruise ship visits more than quadrupled following earthquake damage to
Ōtautahi Christchurch's Lyttelton Port in 2011. Akaroa Harbour is an area
of core use for endangered and endemic Hector’s dolphins (*Cephalorhynchus
hectori*). Dolphins here are exposed to some of the highest levels of
cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Relationships were examined
between growth in cruise ship visits, as well as tours focused specifically
on dolphins, and long-term trends in summer distribution of Hector’s
dolphins at Akaroa Harbour, from 2000 to 2020. Core use areas for Hector’s
dolphins within the harbour were quantified via kernel density estimation
using data from 2,335 sightings from over 8,000 km of standardized survey
effort. Data were allocated into four periods based on varying levels of
tourism. Dolphin habitat preference varied over time, with the greatest
change occurring between 2005–2011 and 2012–2015. When comparing these
periods, the spatial overlap of core habitat was less than 24%. Dolphin
distribution shifted towards the outer harbour after 2011 and has remained
relatively consistent since. The observed shift in distribution coincided
with the more than fourfold increase in annual cruise ship visits to Akaroa
Harbour. Several pressures related to cruise ship tourism are likely to
have influenced habitat preferences of dolphins. Further investigation into
causal factors of the observed shift is warranted. In the wake of the
COVID-19 pandemic, the future of cruise ship and wildlife tourism is in
flux. Our findings suggest that the future re-development of this industry
should follow a precautionary approach, with the onus on industry to
provide evidence of sustainability before proceeding.

You are very welcome to contact me (william.carome at gmail.com) with any

Ngā mihi,

Will Carome
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