Vocalisation rates of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
Ship strikes have been identified as a major cause of mortality in modern times for the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). From 1970-1999, 16 of the 32 fatalities for which cause of death could be ascertained were due to vessel strikes, and a further 13 were of unknown cause (Knowlton and Kraus, 2001; Laist et al., 2001). The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission has made specific recommendations for reducing ship strikes following a workshop in Cape Town, South Africa (IWC, 1999). These recognise the need for surveillance systems that would give real-time information on the location of right whales in particular high-risk areas. The need for long term information on right whale distribution and its relation to other variables, such as prey abundance, is also recognised.