Stock identity of beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) in Eastern Canada and West Greenland based on organochlorine contaminants in their blubber

  • Stuart Innes Freshwater Institute, Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N6
  • Derek CG Muir Environment Canada, National Water Research Institute, 867 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario L7R 4A6 and Freshwater Institute, Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N6
  • Robert EA Stewart Freshwater Institute, Central and Arctic Region, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N6
  • Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, c/o National Marine Mammal laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 USA
  • Rune Dietz Department of Arctic Environment, National Environmental Research Institute, Box 358, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde
Keywords: belugas, Delphinapterus leucas, contaminants, stock structure

Abstract

Belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) caught by hunters from various hamlets in the Arctic differed in the concentrations of organochlorine contaminants in their blubber. By applying Canonical Discriminant Analysis (CDA) it was possible to separate all seven sampling locations from each other. Over 90% of the samples could be classified back to their landing location based on the data transformations developed by CDA. This analysis suggested that “stock” or management unit for belugas is best described by the culturally transmitted behaviour of their migration route. The analysis also provides evidence that most belugas caught by hunters from Grise Fiord are not the same as belugas caught while migrating along West Greenland; that some belugas caught in Sanikiluaq are not the same as beluga caught in the Nastapoka River estuary; and that the belugas caught in Kimmirut are not the same as belugas caught in Cumberland Sound. There is a need to redefine the stock descriptions of some belugas in Canada and Greenland.

Published
2002-07-21
How to Cite
Innes, S., Muir, D. C., Stewart, R. E., Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., & Dietz, R. (2002). Stock identity of beluga (<i>Delphinapterus leucas</i>) in Eastern Canada and West Greenland based on organochlorine contaminants in their blubber. NAMMCO Scientific Publications, 4, 51-68. https://doi.org/10.7557/3.2837