NMFS/PSB Aerial Survey May 31, 2000 (fwd)

From: mike williamson (williams@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 15:37:17 EDT


Flight Summary for 31 May 2000 ~ NEFSC/PSB

        The aerial survey for May 31, 2000 investigated the northern edge of
Georges Bank (4216N/6720W to 4212N/6700W by 4212N/6745W to
4208N/6700W). Again, this area was teaming with whales!
        Not more than 5 miles off Chatham, MA, one minke whale, about 5 basking
sharks, one probable porpoise and 4 probable humpbacks were observed.
Twenty miles east of Franklin Swell, one humpback was observed and as we
approached Franklin Swell, a group of 10 white-sided dolphins were
observed. As the survey headed west-northwest, a large group of white
sided dolphins (+225), about 75 unidentified dolphins and 3 sei whales
were observed (4210N/6757W). A group of 6-7 sei whales were observed a
few miles west at the northern edge of Georges Bank (4210N/6737W).
        The first right whale encountered was at 4212N/6717W and it was
traveling eastbound.
        An area about 10 miles west of this sighting (4215N/6702W) was dubbed a
‘hotspot'. Within a 7 mile radius were large groups of pilot whales
(about 70) and white sided dolphins (about 67), one humpback whale, 5-6
sperm whales, approximately 20+ sei whales, and 14 right whales.
        The next ‘hotspot' was observed about 12 miles north of the 50 fathom
line of the northern edge (4217N/6714W). Within this area, 10+ right
whales were observed and were associated with dolphins (about 20), 12
pilot whales, a pair of finback whales and 25+ sei whales.
        On the return flight home, near Stout Swell (4215N/6814W), more white
sided dolphins (about 10) and 1 basking shark were observed. No
observations of marine mammals were made until we approached the coast
of Chatham where one feeding basking shark and 7 white sided dolphins
were observed. Once inside the bay, three more basking sharks were
observed, one feeding.
        The minimum estimated right whale count for the day was 25.
        The sighting conditions were good all day and the Beaufort seastate
ranged between 1 and 3.

Amy Lamb
NMFS/NEFSC/PSB
166 Water St.
Woods Hole, MA 02543
508/495.2324
Amy.Lamb@noaa.gov



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