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Summary of the Workshop on Harbor Porpoise Mortalities and Human Interactions

By Nancy J. Haley, Andrew J. Read

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Sixty-four harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)strandings were reported from Maine to North Carolina between January and June, 1993 (Table I, Figure I). Fifty of these harbor porpoises stranded in the Mid-Atlantic region (New York - North Carolina) between 23 February and IS May 1993 (Figures 2-6). The majority of strandings were reported from VirginiainApril(n=IO, Table 2). Onthe basis of preliminary reports that recovered carcasses incurred strange cuts and unusual body damage, the Northeast Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) convened a workshop on harbor porpoise mortalities and human interactions.

Significant management interest in this species and these strandings stems from a recent proposal to list the Gulf of Maine harbor porpoise popUlation as tlueatened under the Endangered Species Act. l NMFS submitted this proposal due to the high number of harbor porpoise mortalities in the Gulf of Maine sink gillnet fishery. The widespread occurrence of harbor porpoise strandings in 1993 along the MidAtlantic coast suggested that fisheries interactions might be occurring outside the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy.

There were two primary goals proposed for the workshop. First, we sought to determine if any of the stranded harbor porpoises exhibited signs of human interactions. Second, we aimed to develop a reliable protocol for making
objective assessments of human-induced marine mammal mortalities. We also wanted to ensure that indications of human interactions were reported consistently. Hare and Mead's (1987) report on determination of adverse humanmarine manunal interactions was used as a springboard for group discussions and final protocol development.


Angel Tobey

Purdue University

Date 1993
Pages 32
Series NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/NER-5
Publisher U.S. Department of Commerce
Department U.S. Department of Commerce
URL http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/tm/pdfs/tmfner5.pdf
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Conservation
  3. human-animal conflict
  4. human-animal contact
  5. Human-animal interactions
  6. mortality
  7. porpoise
  8. Research
  9. Studies