Investigating the use of passive acoustics threats to right whales in the Great South Channel
The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) has suffered high rates of mortality from ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement. Improved information on whale distribution may assist in the reduction of impacts from vessels and fishing activity. In the spring of 2000 a pilot study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of passive acoustics for detecting and locating right whales in the Great South Channel. Six autonomous bottom-mounted recording units ('pop-ups') were deployed in an area frequently over-flown by NOAA Fisheries aerial surveys. The units recorded continuously between 13th May and 7th June at a sample rate of 2000 Hz. The units were placed in two triads; the centers of the triads were 10 NM apart, with units within each triad being 1.5 NM apart. Arrival-time-difference methods were used to locate sources of sounds received in each triad.