|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Categories||Cetaceans, Conflict, People|
|Date||7 Jul 2015|
Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) distribution has changed over the last decades in Argentina, increasing the number of whales in areas of high human activities. In Golfo Nuevo (Península Valdés, Chubut), coincidentally ports activities also had increased in Puerto Madryn city, the largest city in the area, due to economic and demographic development in recent years. Nowadays, whales are concentrated around harbors and recreational use areas (water sports and whale watching activities), increasing the areas that are shared by whales and ships, generating conflicts related to the use of space. In Puerto Madryn, navigation constraints do not exist, exposing whales to collision risk with ships, not only commercial ships that’s could affect whales survivor, but also a collision with recreational vessels and sailboats or kayaks could affect humans.
Furthermore, a new area adjacent to this bay is intensively used by whales, which perform dives longer than 20 min in an area with depths that range from 80 to 120 meters, and also used by ships as a route to enter to Puerto Madryn port, escalating the risk of collision with vessels when whales emerge to breathe. As well as collision represents a threat to whales, is a risk to humans due ships could be affected seriously. Although is possible to obtain data from direct observation when whales are in surface, it is difficult when whales are submerged. Therefore, we developed a device for evaluating the movements of whales underwater in nearby Puerto Madryn. A total of five whales were tagged in November 2013 with a suction cup device containing a time-depth recorder (TDR) and results suggested that individuals tagged in Puerto Madryn dived to depths close to 80 meters. A new device was designed to study whales’ movements during dives in the route of access used by ships. The device will register special data in three dimensions. An understanding of whale distribution, abundance and diving patterns will be useful for predicting the potential consequences of the human activities on the population.
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