August 13, 2011
We love fin whales.
A few years ago, this photo of a fin whale was taken on Rob’s birthday during a series of surveys he initiated with Raincoast. The surveys for marine mammals in British Columbia coastal waters yielded an abundance estimate for fin whales (corresponding to an area that’s roughly the PNCIMA region) of 496 whales. There is a lot of uncertainty associated with that estimate, because there weren’t many sightings, so there’s lots more work to do on the species. Here are more details about the study.
Next, we assessed where fin whales might encounter marine debris and where they are most likely to be hit by transiting ships like this fin whale. Turns out the south end of Queen Charlotte Sound turned out to be one of a few regions where we should be on the lookout for fin whale ship strikes. Fin whales are endangered in the United States and in Canada. Many populations are still depleted from commercial whaling and their recovery could be slowed by ship strikes and chronic ocean noise from marine traffic.
If you want to learn more about fin whales, Rob wrote a neat encyclopedia entry about fin whales in the Antarctic.
Our next work on fin whales is acoustic. We’re screening our recordings for fin whale calls, and estimating how much acoustic masking fin whales may experience from shipping noise. So, watch this space for more information. Until then, please enjoy the pretty picture of a birthday fin whale.