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Evaluation of the potential of collision between fin whales and maritimetraffic in the north-western Mediterranean Sea in summer, and mitigation solutions
David, L.; Alleaume, S.; Guinet, Ch. (2011). Evaluation of the potential of collision between fin whales and maritimetraffic in the north-western Mediterranean Sea in summer, and mitigation solutions. The Journal of Marine Animals & Their Ecology 4(1): 17-28
In: The Journal of Marine Animals & Their Ecology. Oceanographic Environmental Research Society: Barrie, ON. ISSN 1911-8929, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors | Dataset 

Keywords
    Collisions; GIS; Strikes; Vessels; Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Mysticeti Flower, 1864 [WoRMS]; MED, North-western Mediterranean; Marine
Author keywords
    Baleen whale; Commercial vessel

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • David, L.
  • Alleaume, S.
  • Guinet, Ch.

Abstract
    Collisions with large vessels present a major conservation issue for the Mediterranean fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), as shown by strandings and body scars on live individuals at sea. However the effect of collisions on this fin whale population and locations of collision events remain poorly known. Using existing knowledge of summer fin whale distribution and data collected regarding main shipping routes, this study aimed to i) assess the spatial distribution of the potential for collisions and ii) discuss mitigation measures. During summer, the sighting densities of fin whales (individuals/hour of effort) calculated from 1993 to 2001, and the levels of shipping density (in km travelled), were computed over a 0.1° X 0.1° regular grid using a GIS. The ship strike potential, expressed as a function of the overlap between fin whale sightings and shipping density, was found to be the highest in the central part of the Ligurian Sea, due to the occurrence in the area by both the animals and shipping traffic, mainly ferries and Very Fast Ferries (VFF). The potential for collision was also found to be high off the Provençal coasts mainly due to ferry and trading vessels, but was lower in the Gulf of Lions. In order to reduce these risks, various solutions with differing levels of implementation and constraints, ranging from dedicated observers to reduction of ship speed and avoidance of areas of high whale concentration, are discussed. This GIS approach combining threat density and animal density can be used to determine areas most at risk for any threat.

Dataset
  • Cetacean sightings in the north western mediterranean Sea by écoOcéan Institut and partners 1994-2011, more

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