SIMoN
Special Status Species
SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES: BLUE WHALE (Balaenoptera musculus)
Blue Whale
Photo: Protected Resources Division,
Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
Common name: Blue whale
Scientific name: Balaenoptera musculus
Stock: Eastern North Pacific
 
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Range Habitat Movements
Abundance Natural History Threats
Conservation Research Gaps Recommended Actions
References Resources

Listing Status
Endangered Species Act (?)
Status: Endangered (all stocks)
Critical Habitat: Not designated
Recovery Plan: Released in 19981
Five Year Status Review: None

California Endangered Species Act (?)
Status: Not listed

Marine Mammal Protection Act (?)
Status: Depleted; strategic stock
Stock Assessment: Updated annually2

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) (?)
Status: Endangered

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (?)
Appendix I

Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) (?)
Appendix I

Geographic Range
General:

Blue whales are widely distributed from subtropical to polar latitudes in the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans (Figure 1). In the north Pacific, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) considers there to be only one management stock. However, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) considers there to be multiple management stocks in the north Pacific, though the total number of stocks and the geographic range of each stock is still not clearly understood.2 The Eastern North Pacific stock is one of the most well studied stocks of blue whale. Members of this stock have been sighted between southern California and Gulf of Alaska in summer/fall3,4 (Figure 2) and between Mexico and Panama in the winter/spring.5

MBNMS:

Blue whales are regularly sighted throughout the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary6 (Figure 3).

Blue whale distribution map
Figure 1. World-wide distribution of all blue whale species27.
Download full-size figure (460 KB PDF).
Blue whale sightings map
Figure 2. Sightings of blue whales based on summer/autumn shipboard surveys off California, Oregon, and Washington, 1991-2001. Dashed line represents the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); bold line indicates the outer boundary of all surveys combined (reprinted from Carretta et al. 2005; see Appendix 2 of that report for actual transect lines surveyed)2.
Download full-size figure (120 KB PDF).
Blue whale density map
Figure 3. At-sea sightings and survey effort for blue whales in the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. At sea sightings are based on data form eight survey programs conducted in 1998-20016.
Download full-size figure (268 KB PDF).

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Habitat
General:

This species is commonly found in waters associated with the continental shelf break and in deeper offshore waters associated with temperature and productivity fronts.  Large concentrations of blue whales are often found at the continental shelf break in areas downstream from upwelling centers where euphausiid (krill) prey are concentrated into large schools.7 Example of such locations include: the island shelf and shelf edge to the north and west of the Channel Islands (south of Point Conception); the shelf break region south off Point Sur; the edges of the Monterey Submarine Canyon; the shelf break region south of Point Año Nuevo; the Cordell Bank; and the broad shelf and shelf break in the Gulf of the Farallons6,8,9 (Figure 3; Figure 4). Less is known about the physical characteristics of preferred offshore foraging habitat.

MBNMS:

Although their occurrence and distribution is highly variable, they tend to be associated with the submarine canyon in Monterey Bay and just north of the MBNMS boundary.6 Whales in the MBNMS have been observed feeding on euphausiid (krill) swarms in the deep scattering layer along the edges of the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon (Figure 4) and other shelf-break edges in the MBNMS. They are also sighted feeding in daytime surface swarms.6

Blue whale sighting map
Figure 4. Location of blue whales sighted during opportunistic whale watch surveys between 1992-1996 in Monterey Bay, California (reprinted with permission)9.
Download full-size figure (48 KB PDF).

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Migration and Movements
General:

Photographic identification efforts and satellite tagging studies have revealed extensive movements within and between feeding and breeding areas.3,5,10 While blue whales can reach speeds of 32 to 36 km/hr, they most often cruise at 2 to 8 km/hr while feeding and traveling.8 They tend to travel alone or in small groups.

Individuals that are sighted in foraging areas off central and southern California in the summer and fall have been sighted later in breeding areas off the west coast of Baja California, the Gulf of California, and Costa Rica Dome in the winter/spring.5 Timing of arrival and departure from the different areas varies from year to year. The whales that summer off California also venture north to feed in the waters off Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.3 Recently, members of the NE Pacific stock were heard vocalizing and photo-identified in waters off Alaska.11

MBNMS:

Most blue whale sightings in Monterey Bay occur from June through November.6 During this time period there is considerable movement of individuals between the MBNMS and foraging areas to the south (e.g., Santa Barbara Channel, Channel Islands, and Southern California Bight) and to the north (e.g., Gulf of the Farallones, Bodega Bay, northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia).3 Some individuals sighted off central California have been re-sighted in Mexican waters in the spring.12

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Abundance
General:

All populations of blue whales were drastically reduced in size by commercial whaling. The North Pacific population was reduced from an estimated 4,900 prior to the onset of commercial whaling to less than 2,000 by 1966 when commercial harvest ceased.13 The size of the Eastern North Pacific stock prior to exploitation is not known. Currently, it appears to be the only stock that is thriving. Recent line-transect surveys by NMFS have yielded estimates close to 3,000.14 This number combines estimates for the U.S. west coast, British Columbia and Mexico, and includes adjustments for missed or unidentified whales.

Since 1986, Cascadia Research has been estimating population size for blue whales between southern California and British Columbia using sight-resight data collected from both inshore and offshore waters (Figure 5). The most recent estimate from the years 2000 to 2002 is 1,781 blue whales, which is not significantly different from the estimates made in 1991-93 and 1995-97 using similar procedures.3 The blue whale population does not appear to have increased substantially over the last decade (Figure 5) suggesting that animals are leaving the study area or mortality is removing as many animals from the population as reproduction is adding.

MBNMS:

Prior to the late 1970s blue whales were uncommon off central California including the MBNMS. Now this species is observed every year, though local abundance can vary substantially among years.15 The apparent increase in blue whale abundance in central California may be caused by an increase in reproduction or by a re-distribution of the existing whale population, possibly in response to changing prey distributions or shifts in preferred prey type (offshore vs. neritic krill species).1,15 The maximum percent of the NE Pacific stock that may be present in the MBNMS at any particular time is estimated to be ≤5-10%.4

Blue whale sighting map
Figure 5. Number of blue whales identified between southern California and British Columbia, 1986-2003. Also shown is the number of those individuals that were only seen in one year (reprinted with permission)3.
Download full-size figure (296 KB PDF).

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Natural History
Click here to view the natural history information of this species.

Threats
General:

Acoustic disturbance: There is concern about the potential negative impacts to marine mammals of a variety of acoustic disturbances (e.g., noise from ships, aircraft, research boats, and military and industrial activities).16 Noise can cause direct physiological damage, mask communication, or disrupt important migration, feeding or breeding behaviors. Active-sonar, specifically low frequency (100-500 Hz) and mid-frequency (2.8-3.3 kHz) active sonar used in military activities by the U.S. and other nations, is one sound source of particular concern.16 Croll and colleagues 17 did not observe an obvious response in blue whales when exposed to the US Navy's SURTASS LFA (Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Low Frequency Active) sonar system for short time periods at reduced power settings.17 However, the possibility of negative impacts over longer exposure periods could not be determined. The impact, if any, of noise from seismic testing for geological mapping and oil and gas exploration is unknown.

Collisions with ships: Off California between 1980 and 1993, ship strikes caused the deaths of at least four blue whales.2 These numbers are likely an underestimate because whales struck and killed by fast moving vessels may sink and go unnoticed.

Disturbance from whale watching activity: Whale watching boats target blue whales in many locations along the California coast, including the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. There is some evidence that closely approaching boats elicit reactions from blue whales including avoidance of the boat and alteration of the surface sequence (e.g., longer surface intervals, rapid submergence, premature dives).3 The presence of multiple boats at close proximity to the whales or traveling at high speed through areas with high concentrations of whales could be a cause of stress or injury.18

Declining prey resources: Declining abundance of prey species could result from either natural prey population fluctuations or commercial harvest of prey species. Schooling fish and crustaceans are often used for human consumption, as bait, or as feed in mariculture facilities.

Entanglement in fishing gear: No mortalities or serious injuries have been observed from the CA/OR offshore drift gillnet fishery between 1997-2001.2 Incidental take may be occurring in the drift gillnet fisheries for swordfish and sharks along the Pacific coast of Baja California.

Habitat degradation (e.g., chemical pollution, oil pollution, coastal development): Any increase in offshore oil and gas development would increase both the potential of an oil or chemical spill and the amount of shipping traffic through blue whale habitat.

MBNMS:

No threats are unique to the MBNMS

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Conservation and Research  
Federal
General:

In 1966 blue whales in the North Pacific were given complete protection from whaling under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Blue whales are listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the NE Pacific stock is considered "depleted" and a "strategic stock" under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Under the ESA and MMPA, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the management and recovery of blue whales in U.S. waters.

As required under the MMPA, NMFS annually updates the Stock Assessment Reports (SAR) for all strategic stocks and the most recent SARs are available on the NOAA Office of Protected Resources website. The MMPA also requires the formation of Take Reduction Plans to reduce the incidental serious injury and mortality of marine mammals from commercial fishing operations. In 1997 NMFS implemented a Take Reduction Plan for Pacific Offshore Cetaceans to address incidental takes of cetaceans in the California/Oregon swordfish drift gillnet fishery. The plan included skipper education workshops and required the use of pingers and minimum 6-fathom extenders. Since implementation, overall cetacean entanglement rates in the California/Oregon swordfish drift gillnet fishery have dropped considerably.19

As required under the ESA, NMFS assembled a recovery team to write a recovery plan for blue whales. The recovery plan for the North Atlantic and North Pacific populations was released in 1998.1 The key recommended actions for the North Pacific population were:

  • Determine population structure of blue whales,
  • Estimate population size and monitor trends in abundance,
  • Identify and protect essential habitats,
  • Minimize or eliminate human-caused injury and mortality,
  • Coordinate state, federal, and international actions to implement recovery efforts,
  • Determine and minimize any detrimental effects of directed vessel and aircraft interactions,
  • Maximize efforts to acquire scientific information from dead, stranded, and entangled animals,
  • Develop criteria for delisting or downlisting recovering blue whale populations.

NMFS is responsible for implementing the actions recommended in the recovery plan. Some of the recommended research is completed by NMFS scientists while some is completed by other groups, sometimes with NMFS funding (see "Other" section below for a summary of research projects completed by non-federal researchers). On-going federal research projects include:

Shipboard Cetacean Surveys (Lead Scientist: Jay Barlow, Coastal Marine Mammal Program, Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)). The abundance of cetaceans along the U.S. west coast (out to a distance of approximately 300 nautical miles) is periodically estimated from shipboard surveys. Most recently, surveys occurred in 1993, 1996, 2001 and 2005. These surveys are anticipated to continue every 4-5 years (Jay Barlow, pers. comm. 3/2005). SPLASH (Structure of Population, Levels of Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks). The multi-year (2004-2006) SPLASH (Structure of Population, Levels of Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks) research program, though targeting humpback whales, is recording the distribution and abundance of other cetaceans as time allows.

Habitat and Prey Study (Lead Scientist: Paul Fiedler, SWFSC). The goal of this study is to determine the distribution and feeding activity of blue and other baleen whales around the southern California Channel Islands and oceanographic and biological factors that favor large swarms of krill. Collaborators: NOAA Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, University of California at Santa Cruz, Mexico's Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, and Japan's National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries.

Blue Whale Morphometrics (Lead Scientist: Jim Gilpatrick, SWFSC). The goal of this study is to determine the stock structure of blue whales in the Pacific and Southern Oceans based on body proportions. Morphological data are used to evaluate the biological condition of blue whales during certain years and seasons.

Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program Network (Joe Cordaro, Southwest Regional Stranding Coordinator, SWFSC). The network consists of volunteer groups that respond to marine mammal strandings in different parts of the southwest region. Samples from stranded animals provide information on biological parameters, including age, length, reproductive condition, contaminant loads, stock discreteness, types of parasites or diseases, and cause of death. In addition to collecting data from stranded animals, this program assesses health trends, correlates health with available data on physical, chemical, environmental, and biological parameters, and coordinates effective responses to unusual mortality events.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 for the purpose of managing fisheries 3-200 miles offshore of the United States of America coastline. The Pacific Council is responsible for fisheries off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. In March 2006, the PFMC adopted Amendment 12 to the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan (CPSFMP). This amendment adds krill to the species managed under the (CPSFMP), and prohibits harvesting krill in the Economic Exclusive Zone off the west coast of the U.S. The amendment makes no provision for future or experimental fisheries. The ban on krill fishing protects blue whales from competition with commercial fisheries for krill resources in federal waters.

MBNMS:

CSCAPE (Collaborative Survey of Cetacean Abundance and the Pelagic Ecosystem; Principle Investigator: Karin Forney, NMFS-SWFSC). The 2005 shipboard cetacean survey was part of a collaboration with the National Marine Sanctuary Program called CSCAPE. The primary objective of CSCAPE was to combine the typical marine mammal assessment survey with fine-scale surveys within the boundaries of the five west coast National Marine Sanctuaries. A secondary objective was to characterize the pelagic ecosystem within the study area, through the collection of underway and station-based biological and oceanographic data, seabird studies, and acoustic sampling. A final objective was to conduct biopsy sampling and photo-identification studies of marine mammal species of special interest.

Beach COMBERS - Coastal Ocean Mammal and Bird Education and Research Surveys (Project Leader: Hannah Nevins, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories). In 1997 the MBNMS began a beach survey program using trained volunteers to survey beached marine birds and mammals monthly at selected sections of beaches throughout the Monterey Bay area. Currently, the program monitors 45 km of beaches in the MBNMS. The program is a collaborative project between MLML, MBNMS, and other state and research institutions, with the specific goal of using deposition of beach cast carcasses as an index of the health of the sanctuary. The Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program Network is notified of all stranded or dead cetaceans so that data can be collected and the cause of the stranding event determined.

State
General:

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) is not required to have research and monitoring programs for blue whales because this species is not listed as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. However, under the federal ESA and MMPA, CDFG is required to decrease or eliminate negative impacts of state-managed fisheries on blue whales. Currently, no state-managed fisheries are known to have a negative impact on this species.

In 2000, the California state legislature passed the Strom-Martin bill (A.B. 2482), which modified the California Fish and Game Code to make it unlawful to take krill for commercial purposes from state waters or land krill at any state port until January 1, 2011. In 2003, A.B. 1296 amended the Fish and Game Code (Section 8510) to remove the sunset provision, thus making the prohibition on krill fishing in state waters indefinite. This law protects blue whales from competition with commercial fisheries for krill resources in state waters.

Other
General:

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the EN Pacific stock of the blue whale as “Lower Risk/Conservation Dependent”.  The blue whale is listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which includes species threatened with extinction and prevents trade of Appendix I species except in exceptional circumstances. In addition, this species is listed under Appendix I of the North American Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), which includes migratory species that have been categorized as being in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range.

The IWC was set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling which was signed in Washington D.C. on December 2, 1946. The purpose of the Convention is to provide for the conservation of whale stocks and the development of the whaling industry. The IWC has prohibited the taking of blue whales in the North Pacific Ocean since 1966. Currently, the IWC has 57 member nations and all members have agreed to uphold the prohibition on take of blue whales.

Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (Cetacean working group leader: Bruce Mate, Oregon State University). The goal of TOPP is to understand the migration patterns of large, open ocean animals in the North Pacific. Satellite tags attached to blue whales off California are helping researchers determine diving patterns, migration routes, and the location of feeding and breeding habitats. Collaborators in the cetacean group include scientists from NOAA, UC Santa Cruz, Oregon State University, Cascadia Research, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Source of funding: U.S. Office of Naval Research, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The Cascadia Research Collective runs several blue whale research projects (Principle Investigator: John Calambokidis).

  • Photo-identification of blue whales to examine distribution, abundance, movement patterns, stock structure and population trends of blue whales off California, and to a lesser extent off Oregon, Washington and Mexico. This project began in 1986 and more than 1,500 blue whales have been individually identified. This research also helps to identify critical feeding habitats that need protection and human activities that have negative impacts on blue whale populations off California. Funding source: NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center and National Marine Sanctuary Program.
  • Observation of surface and underwater movements, feeding and vocal behavior of blue whales using acoustic tags and crittercams. Collaborators: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Greeneridge Scientific Services, National Geographic, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Funding sources: Office of Naval Research and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
MBNMS:

CIMT - Center for Integrated Marine Technologies: Wind to Whales (Contact: Andrew DeVogelaere, MBNMS). The Monterey Bay - from Pt. Ao Nuevo to Pt. Lobos and out to 12205' west longitude - is the focal region of the CIMT Wind to Whales Program. This project, which began in 1997, is an interdisciplinary collaborative research project involving scientists and engineers from UCSC, NMFS, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing Marine Labs, MBNMS, and Naval Postgraduate School. CIMT uses data collected via remote sensing, moorings and ship-board surveys to investigate linkages between: coastal upwelling, nutrient delivery, spatial and temporal variability in phytoplankton, and the distribution and abundance of organisms at higher trophic levels including squid, fishes, seabirds, sea turtles, pinnipeds, and whales. Current studies on blue whales include

  • Monthly ship-board surveys to determine distribution and abundance
  • Bottom-mounted passive acoustic mooring system to monitor vocal behavior and determine abundance patterns
  • Tagging with archival dive recorders to monitor short-term (hours to days) foraging movements and behavior

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Research Gaps
MBNMS:

Many of the information gaps identified in the 1998 Recovery Plan are being addressed by on-going research programs. Additional research programs focused on blue whales in the MBNMS could include:

  • More information on behavior associated with vocalization and baseline data on call rates are needed to calibrate passive acoustic studies. Calibration will be difficult because there are seasonal, behavioral, and sex differences in calling behavior.4 With calibration, passive acoustics could be used to estimate abundance, monitor behavior patterns and determine the effect of different types of anthropogenic sound on blue whale behavior.21,22
  • Conduct systematic, MBNMS-wide aerial or ship-based surveys to determine distribution and abundance of cetaceans. Data from the surveys will help monitor trends in abundance, determine the distribution of blue whales in Sanctuary waters, and identify the location of important foraging habitat in the MBNMS.

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Recommended Actions
General:
  • Support a continued international ban on commercial hunting and other directed lethal take. Support efforts to detect and prevent illegal whaling.
  • Encourage NMFS to establish criteria for downlisting or delisting this stock under the ESA.
MBNMS:
  • Monitor whale-watching activities around blue whales. Ensure that effective protective measures (e.g., vessel approach regulations) are developed and enforced. Provide education outreach to commercial and private vessels regarding viewing regulations and develop incentives that will increase voluntary compliance rates.23
  • Reduce the threat of entanglement in and ingestion of marine debris, particularly fishing gear. Efforts should include education outreach to fishing industry, abandoned gear recovery, and entanglement/stranding response teams.24
  • If certain acoustical disturbances are found to negatively impact blue whales, work to minimize those activities in the MBNMS.
  • Discourage offshore mariculture projects in the MBNMS. Offshore mariculture could negatively impact blue whales in three ways:
    1. Entanglement in netting and lines.25
    2. Competition for food - schooling crustaceans and fish are often harvested to feed to farmed fish.
    3. Habitat degradation - declining water quality and increasing parasite load.

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Cited References  
1. Reeves RR, Clapham PJ, Brownell RL Jr, Silber GK (1998) Recovery plan for the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus). Prepared for the National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD. 42 p.
2. Carretta JV, Forney KA, Muto MM, Barlow J, Baker J, Lowry M (2004) U.S. Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessments: 2003. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-358, U.S. Department of Commerce .
3. Calambokidis J, Chandler T, Falcone E, Douglas A (2004) Research on large whales off California, Oregon, and Washington in 2003. Annual Report for 2003. Prepared by Cascadia Research for the Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
4. John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research, personal communication.
5. Mate BR, Lagerquist BA, Calambokidis J (1999) Movements of North Pacific blue whales during the feeding season off southern California and their southern fall migration. Marine Mammal Science 15:1246-1257.
6. NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) (2003) A Biogeographic Assessment of North/Central California: To Support the Joint Management Plan Review for Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, And Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries; Phase I - Marine Fishes, Birds and Mammals. Prepared by NCCOS's Biogeography Team in Cooperation with the National Marine Sanctuary Program, Silver Spring, MD. http://biogeo.nos.noaa.gov/products/canms_cd/
7. Croll DA, Tershy BR, Hewitt RP, Demer DA, Fiedler PC, Smith SE, Armstrong W, Popp JM, Kiekhefer T, Lopez VR, Urban J, Gendron D (1998) An integrated approach to the foraging ecology of marine birds and mammals. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 45:1353-1371.
8. Fiedler PC, Reilly SB, Hewitt RP, Demer D, Philbrick VA, Smith S, Armstrong W, Croll DA, Tershy BR, Mate BR (1998) Blue whale habitat and prey in the California Channel Islands. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 45:1781-1801.
9. Croll DA, Marinovic B, Benson S, Chavez FP, Black N, Temullo R, Tershy BR (2005) From wind to whales: trophic links in a coastal upwelling system. Marine Ecology Progress Series 289:117-130
10. Calambokidis J, Chandler T, Rasmussen K, Steiger GH, Schlender L (1999) Humpback and blue whale photo-identification research off California, Oregon and Washington in 1998. Final Report. Prepared for the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, CA. http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/reports/onlinereports.htm
11. Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), NMFS , SPLASH, Weekly Science Report August 26 2004: http://swfsc.nmfs.noaa.gov/PRD/WeeklyReports/SPLASH/WeeklySPLASH082604a.pdf
12. Calambokidis J, Steiger GH, Cubbage JC, Balcomb KC, Ewald C, Kruse S, Wells R, Sears R (1990). Sightings and movements of blue whales off central California 1986-88 from photo-identification of individuals. Rep. Int. Whal. Commn, Special Issue 12:343-348.
13. Braham HW (1984) The status of endangered whales. Marine Fisheries Review 46.
14. Calambokidis J, Barlow J (2004) Abundance of blue and humpback whales in the eastern North Pacific estimated by capture-recapture and line-transect methods. Marine Mammal Science 20:63-85. http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/reports/MMS-MnBm-04.pdf
15. Benson SR, Croll DA, Marinovic BB, Chavez FP, Harvey JT (2002). Changes in the cetacean assemblage of a coastal upwelling ecosystem during El Nino 1997-98 and La Nina 1999. Progress in Oceanography 54: 279-291
16. National Research Council (2005) Marine Mammal Populations and Ocean Noise: Determining When Noise Causes Biologically Significant Effects. Committee on Characterizing Biologically Significant Marine Mammal Behavior. National Academies Press, Washington, DC. 142 pages.  http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11147.html
17. Croll DA, Acevedo-Gutierrez A, Tershy BR, Urban-Ramirez J (2001) The diving behavior of blue and fin whales: Is dive duration shorter than expected based on oxygen stores? Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 129A:797-809
18. COSEWIC (2002) COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus Atlantic population and Pacific population in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. vi + 32 pp. http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/virtual_sara/files/cosewic/sr%5Fblue%5Fwhale%5Fe%2Epdf
19. Barlow J, and Cameron GA (2003) Field experiments show that acoustic pingers reduce marine mammal bycatch in the California drift gillnet fishery. Marine Mammal Science 19(2):265-283. http://swfsc.nmfs.noaa.gov/PRD/CMMP/OtherReports/iwc9798d.pdf
20. Jay Barlow, NMFS-SWFSC, personal communication.
21. Addressed in part by JMPR Wildlife Disturbance Issues – Marine Mammal, Seabird and Turtle Disturbance Action Plan: Low Flying Aircraft Disturbance Strategy. Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR). Proposed Action Plans. Draft report. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
22. Addressed in part by JMPR Wildlife Disturbance Issues – Marine Mammal, Seabird and Turtle Disturbance Action Plan: Acoustic Disturbance Strategy. Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR). Proposed Action Plans. Draft report. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
23. Addressed in part by JMPR Wildlife Disturbance Issues – Marine Mammal, Seabird and Turtle Disturbance Action Plan: Vessel Disturbance Strategy and Enforcement Activity Disturbance Strategy. Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR). Proposed Action Plans. Draft report. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
24. Addressed in part by JMPR Wildlife Disturbance Issues – Marine Mammal, Seabird and Turtle Disturbance Action Plan: Marine Debris Strategy. Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR). Proposed Action Plans. Draft report. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
25. Addressed in part by JMPR Wildlife Disturbance Issues – Marine Mammal, Seabird and Turtle Disturbance Action Plan: Commercial Harvest Related Disturbance Strategy. Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR). Proposed Action Plans. Draft report. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
26. Rice DW (1998) Marine mammals of the world: systematics and distribution. Society for Marine Mammalogy Special Publication No. 4
27. Perry SL, DeMaster DP, Silber GK (1999) The Great Whales:  History and Status of Six Species Listed as Endangered Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. Marine Fisheries Review 61:1-74.
http://spo.nwr.noaa.gov/mfr611/mfr611.htm

References and Resources
Click here for images, reports, and links to other websites for this species.

Acknowledgement of Reviewers

Thank you to John Calambokidis (Cascadia Research) and Don Croll (U.C. Santa Cruz) for reviewing this report and providing helpful comments and corrections.


Content Last Modified: 03/2006



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