Assessing variability in marine traffic exposure between baleen whale species off the Galician Coast, Spain

Bland, Rhian and Methion, Severine and Sharp, Stuart P. and Diaz Lopez, Bruno (2023) Assessing variability in marine traffic exposure between baleen whale species off the Galician Coast, Spain. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 186: 114439. ISSN 0025-326X

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Increases in marine traffic represent a growing issue for marine wildlife, posing threats through the impacts of ship strikes and noise pollution. Baleen whales are especially vulnerable to these impacts, yet regional and species-specific information on exposure to such threats is lacking. This study uses AIS and observational data to provide the first assessment of baleen whale exposure to vessel traffic on the NW coast of Spain. Overlap with vessel traffic was detected for all areas where whales were sighted, indicating that these species may be at risk of vessel exposure and its associated impacts. Level of exposure to vessel traffic experienced by whales was species-specific, with risk of exposure appearing highest for minke whales. Vessel exposure also displayed intra- and inter-annual variability and a significant influence of feeding behaviour highlighting the need for dynamic management tools to minimise interactions between baleen whales and marine traffic off the Galician Coast.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Marine Pollution Bulletin
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, 186, 2023 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.114439
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? minke whaleblue whalefin whalevessel exposureiberian peninsulaautomatic identification systemsoceanographypollutionaquatic science ??
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Deposited On:
12 Dec 2022 16:55
Last Modified:
03 Dec 2023 01:50