North Atlantic Right Whale Distribution and Seasonal Occurrence in Nearshore Waters off New Jersey, USA, and Implications for Management

Journal Article

Title: North Atlantic Right Whale Distribution and Seasonal Occurrence in Nearshore Waters off New Jersey, USA, and Implications for Management
Publication Date:
March 21, 2013
Journal: Endangered Species Research
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
Pages: 59-69
Publisher: Inter-Research
Affiliation:
Receptor:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Whitt, A.; Dudzinski, K.; Laliberté, J. (2013). North Atlantic Right Whale Distribution and Seasonal Occurrence in Nearshore Waters off New Jersey, USA, and Implications for Management. Endangered Species Research, 20(1), 59-69.
Abstract: 

The presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA is not well understood. Adequate protection of right whales in the face of plans to develop offshore renewable energy requires more information about this species’ distribution and occurrence in this region. We present findings from the first year-round study dedicated to marine mammals in New Jersey’s nearshore waters using line transect surveys and passive acoustic monitoring. Four groups of right whales, including a cow-calf pair, were sighted. Right whales were detected acoustically during all seasons. Sightings of females and subsequent confirmations of these same individuals in the calving grounds a month or less later illustrate that these waters are part of this species’ migratory corridor. Observations of skim-feeding behavior suggest that feeding may also occur in areas farther south than the main feeding grounds. Based on the year-round occurrence of right whales off New Jersey, we recommend that presumed seasonal migratory patterns not be used alone to determine the timing of construction activities or monitoring/mitigation efforts for offshore development. Our results also provide support for the expansion of existing critical habitat to include nearshore waters of the mid-Atlantic.

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