A note on the distribution and abundance of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in the Central and Northeast North Atlantic
Keywords:Balaenoptera musculus, blue whales, abundance, distribution, surveys
AbstractThe distribution and abundance of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) was assessed from ship surveys conducted in the Central and Northeast Atlantic in 1987, 1989, 1995 and 2001. Blue whales were most commonly sighted off western Iceland, and to a lesser extent northeast of Iceland. They were very rare or absent in the Northeast Atlantic. Sightings were combined over all surveys to estimate the detection function using standard line transect methodology, with the addition of a covariate to account for differences between surveys. Total abundance was highest in 1995 (979, 95% CI 137-2,542) and lowest in 1987 (222, 95% CI 115-440). Uncertainty in species identity had little effect on estimates of abundance. There was a significant positive trend in abundance northeast of Iceland and in the total survey area.
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