Event Title

Fin Whales in the Salish Sea

Presentation Abstract

Historically, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were relatively common off the west coast of North America but very few records of their occurrence in the Salish Sea exist. Due to the potential for misidentification of fin whales with other species of baleen whales, we use photographs to confirm sightings of this species in these waters. A total of 11 sightings of 8 fin whales from 1999 to 2012 are reported. These records are the first of live fin whales in Georgia, Juan De Fuca and Johnstone Straits and are also the only confirmed sightings of live fin whales in the Salish Sea since 1930. Additionally, 11 dead fin whales all with evidence of having been struck by ships are also reported from the Salish Sea between 1986 and 2013. We suggest that because this recovering endangered species has a propensity for being struck by ships, that any fin whales in these busy inside waters may be at greater risk to ship strikes than in less confined waters further offshore.

Session Title

Session S-05D: Marine Birds and Mammals of the Salish Sea: Identifying Patterns and Causes of Change - II

Conference Track

Species and Food Webs

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2014 : Seattle, Wash.)

Document Type

Event

Start Date

1-5-2014 5:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 6:30 PM

Location

Room 6C

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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May 1st, 5:00 PM May 1st, 6:30 PM

Fin Whales in the Salish Sea

Room 6C

Historically, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were relatively common off the west coast of North America but very few records of their occurrence in the Salish Sea exist. Due to the potential for misidentification of fin whales with other species of baleen whales, we use photographs to confirm sightings of this species in these waters. A total of 11 sightings of 8 fin whales from 1999 to 2012 are reported. These records are the first of live fin whales in Georgia, Juan De Fuca and Johnstone Straits and are also the only confirmed sightings of live fin whales in the Salish Sea since 1930. Additionally, 11 dead fin whales all with evidence of having been struck by ships are also reported from the Salish Sea between 1986 and 2013. We suggest that because this recovering endangered species has a propensity for being struck by ships, that any fin whales in these busy inside waters may be at greater risk to ship strikes than in less confined waters further offshore.