Subject: SPERM WHALE SINKS A FISHING BOAT (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 08:02:31 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 17:59:17 +0100
From: Michel Andre <mandre@cicei.ulpgc.es>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: SPERM WHALE SINKS A FISHING BOAT

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SPERM WHALE SINKS A FISHING BOAT

On September the 16th, 1999, at 8:00 am, a 10m fishing boat was lifting
fish traps, the echo sounder was on. The boat was almost stopped on the
120m depth contour and at 150m distance from the coast of Los
Cristianos, Southern Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The captain and
one crew member composed the crew of the boat. Suddenly, a terrible
impact was felt under the bow, making the two fishermen fall down and
hurt themselves. Before 5 minutes, the boat was completely sunk, the
crew just had enough time to get the life jackets and jump out into the
water.

Right after the impact, "a big dark whale" was seen a few meters from
the boat, whale that was formally identified by the fishing men as a
"chacalote", the local name for the sperm whale. The length of the wh=
ale
was estimated to be a bit longer than the boat, which is within the
typical size range of the resident female sperm whales in this region.

This event took place 5-6 nmiles north from the whale-watching area. The
sperm whale is not the most common species usually found in the channel
between the islands of La Gomera if compared to pilot whales and
bottlenose dolphins, although its presence has been reported year round.

The boat could be rescued and towed to land, and the analysis of the
damage confirmed that the impact came from underneath the hull.The
circumstances of this collision are similar to some of the numerous
collisions involving sperm whales and reported in other areas of the
Archipelago, where commercial ferries and fast-ferries are involved.



Michel Andre, Ph.D
Marine Mammal Conservation Research Unit
Department of Morphology, School of Veterinary Medecine
University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Trasmonta=F1a, 35416 Arucas
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
Tel. 34-928 45 11 03, Fax. 34-928 45 11 41
mandre@cicei.ulpgc.es