Reference Document Home | Publications Home
CONTENTS
Overview
Table 1. NARWSS flight hours, number of NARWSS flights conducted, survey type, and total number of right whales sighted on all NARWSS flights during each month in 2007
Figure 1. NARWSS survey track lines and right whale sighting locations by season for 2007
Table 2. The number of right whale sightings reported to the RWSAS in 2007 by reporting source, and the number of unconfirmed and late reports
Figure 2. Number, month and source of reported right whale sightings within the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Canadian water regions in 2007
Figure 3. Locations of right whale sightings reported within in the Northeast and Canada region in 2007
Figure 4. Locations of right whale sightings reported within the Mid-Atlantic region in 2007

Northeast Fisheries Science Center Reference Document 08-06

North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Survey (NARWSS) and Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (RWSAS) 2007 Results Summary

Misty Niemeyer, Timothy VN Cole, Cynthia L Christman, Peter Duley, and Allison H Glass
National Marine Fisheries Serv, Woods Hole Lab, 166 Water St, Woods Hole MA 02543-1026

Web version posted April 1, 2008

Citation: Niemeyer M, Cole TVN, Christman CL, Duley P, Glass AH. 2008. North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Survey (NARWSS) and Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (RWSAS) 2007 results summary. US Dept Commer, Northeast Fish Sci Cent Ref Doc. 08-06; 6 p.

Information Quality Act Compliance: In accordance with section 515 of Public Law 106-554, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed both technical and policy reviews for this report. These predissemination reviews are on file at the NEFSC Editorial Office.

Acrobat Download complete PDF/print version

Overview

The North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Survey (NARWSS) is a NOAA Fisheries program which locates and records the seasonal distribution of right whales off the northeastern United States.  The Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (RWSAS) is designed to reduce collisions between ships and right whales by alerting mariners to the presence of the right whales via fax, email, the Internet, Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM), NOAA Weather Radio, and the Mandatory Ship Reporting system (MSR).  These reports are obtained from a variety of sources including the NARWSS, whale research organizations, automated acoustic buoys, whale watch vessels, Coast Guard, fishing vessels, commercial ships, and the general public.  The results from both the NARWSS and the RWSAS programs in 2007 are summarized in the following tables and figures.

Table 1.  Summarizes the NARWSS flight hours, the number of the NARWSS flights conducted, survey type, and the total number of right whales sighted on all the NARWSS flights during each month in 2007.  There were four types of surveys flown: broadscale; sawtooth; focused surveys in the Great South Channel (GSC) Critical Habitat; and focused surveys over potential and realized Dynamic Area Management (DAM) closure zones. Broadscale surveys were flown along systematic east-west track lines that covered all Federal waters west of the Hague Line from south of Long Island, New York, to Eastport, Maine.  These surveys were flown to provide a synoptic view of the distribution of right whales off the northeastern Atlantic coast; a completed series indicates coverage of the entire area.  Sawtooth surveys began in May 2007 and were flown along systematic track lines within 9 survey blocks.  These flights were conducted to obtain increased photographic capture data of individual right whales to support vital rate modeling and monitoring of right whale aggregations. Surveys focused in the GSC provided commercial shipping traffic with the current locations of right whale aggregations.  DAM confirmation flights included flights made to investigate reported sightings of right whale aggregations outside existing closures and monitor the duration of residence of aggregations within established DAM zones. Additional focused flights not categorized in the table were flights to relocate reported whale carcasses, entangled whales or provide support for disentanglement efforts.

Month
in 2007

Flight hours

Systematic broadscale flights *

Systematic broadscale series completed

Systematic sawtooth surveys

Critical habitat surveys

DAM surveys

# Right whales sighted **

January

29

0

0

0

0

4

47

February

28

3

0

0

0

3

38

March

49

5

0

0

0

3

39

April

37

1

1

0

4

0

113

May

63

0

0

4

7

1

205

June

66

0

0

3

9

0

258

July

17

0

0

0

1

1

34

August

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

September

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

October

30

0

0

3

0

2

21

November

23

0

0

4

0

0

24

December

32

0

0

4

0

0

62

Totals

374

9

1

18

21

14

841

* Flights that included both systematic broadscale or sawtooth and management survey time were counted as broadscale or sawtooth flights.

** The number of right whales sighted is a tally of estimated group sizes, not the number of unique individuals identified from photographs.


Figure 1
.  NARWSS survey track lines and right whale sighting locations by season for 2007.  Thin lines represent track lines and bull’s-eyes represent right whale sighting locations.  Seasonal right whale closure areas in effect during each period are shown as bold lines.  The closure area include:  Cape Cod Bay (Jan 1 - May 15); Great South Channel (April 1 - June 30); Seasonal Area Management (SAM) West (March 1 - April 30); Seasonal Area Management (SAM) East (May 1 - July 31). CLICK TO ENLARGE FIGURE.

Figure 1


Table 2.  The number of right whale sightings reported to the RWSAS in 2007 by reporting source, and the number of unconfirmed and late reports.  Unconfirmed reports and duplicate reports did not produce an alert.   Reports of 1-2 right whales were not broadcast if the report was received more than one day after the sighting.  Late reports of greater than 2 whales did generate an alert since it was likely the location would continue to be occupied by right whales.  Multiple sightings received on the same day were typically combined into a single alert.  A total of 144 alerts were broadcast in 2007.

Platform

# of Reports

Unconfirmed

Late

Aerial Survey

86

0

3

Shipboard Survey

44

0

16

Acoustic

1

0

1

Whale Watch

54

1

5

Coast Guard

21

1

5

Commercial Ship

11

1

1

Fishing Vessel

1

0

1

Opportunistic

42

5

7

Totals

260

8

39


Figure 2a
.  Number, month and source of reported right whale sightings within the Northeast region (Maine through New York) in 2007.
Figure 2b.  Number, month and source of reported right whale sightings within the Mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey through North Carolina) in 2007.
Figure 2c.  Number, month and source of reported right whale sightings within Canadian waters in 2007.

Figure 2



Figure 3
.  Locations of right whale sightings reported within in the Northeast and Canada region in 2007.  Unconfirmed reports were excluded. Graduated symbols indicate reporting source and number of whales for each sighting. CLICK TO ENLARGE FIGURE.

Figure 3



Figure 4
. Locations of right whale sightings reported within the Mid-Atlantic region in 2007.  Unconfirmed reports were excluded.  Graduated symbols indicate reporting source and number of whales for each sighting. CLICK TO ENLARGE FIGURE.

Figure 4
www.nefsc.noaa.gov
NMFS Search
Link Disclaimer
webMASTER
Privacy Policy
(File Modified Jul. 01 2016)

This page has had 1 visits today, 1 visits this week, 57 visits this month, 585 visits this year