[MARMAM] FWC Technical Report Announcement (Right Whales)

Neyman, Lisa Lisa.Neyman at MyFWC.com
Wed Jan 3 10:05:27 PST 2024

We are happy to announce the publication of a new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Technical Report assessing mariner usage of recommended lanes designated for the protection of the North Atlantic right whale.

Title:     Mariner Cooperation with Recommended Lanes in Two Critical Habitats of the North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena glacialis

Authors:     Lisa C. Neyman, Nathan J. Crum, Jeffrey D. Adams, Eric M. Patterson, and Caroline P. Good

Abstract:      Vessel strikes are a significant threat to large whales worldwide and have had a substantial impact on the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in particular. Managers have implemented several measures to reduce vessel strikes to right whales, including routing measures, such as the recommended lanes established in Cape Cod Bay, MA, and the southeastern United States in 2006. The goal of these recommended lanes is to minimize co-occurrence of vessels and whales and reduce the number of strikes, the success of which depends on mariner cooperation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this tool for reducing vessel strikes to right whales, we assessed mariner use of the recommended lanes. We measured lane use (defined as the proportion of a vessel's traveled path occurring within the recommended lanes) using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data collected from January 2017 through December 2019, and compared use rates across study regions, vessel types, routes traveled, and time of year. Recommended lane use varied widely across vessel type, route, region, and the combination of vessel type and region, and only slightly across time of year. Use varied most widely across vessel types, and commercial vessels, specifically cargo carrying type vessels, had the highest lane-use rates, while recreational and fishing vessels had the lowest lane-use rates. Therefore, recommended lanes are likely more effective for managing the risk of vessel strikes from large commercial vessels near commercial ports, while other approaches may be needed for managing risk from other vessel types.

You can find the full publication (Technical Report 24) on the FWC Technical Reports website: https://myfwc.com/research/publications/technical-reports/

Lisa Neyman

Research Associate
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
100 8th Ave. SE
Saint Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 502-4751
Email: Lisa.Neyman at myfwc.com<mailto:Lisa.Neyman at myfwc.com>

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