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Remote Monitoring of Dolphins and Whales in the High Naval Activity Areas in Hawaiian Waters

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Research rept.

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The axiom that knowledge is power applies directly to the problems experienced by the U.S. Navy in encountering dolphins and whales. If the Navy had more knowledge of the what, where, when and why of marine mammals in a given body of water, encounters between Naval vessels and marine mammals could be reduced or avoided all together. However, the cost of negative encounters is disproportionately high in terms of negative publicity and law suits so it would be prudent to take steps to increase the odds against any encounters. Therefore, basic information on the biology, natural history, and behavior of cetaceans that frequent waters of high Navy activity are needed to understand ways to avoid encounters. There is a higher probability of Naval encounters with marine mammals in Hawaiian waters than in most other regions of the world because of the large number of cetacean species that inhabit or frequent these waters. Approximately 16-20 species of cetaceans can be found in Hawaiian waters. This is a large number of species for such a small geographic area. Knowing what animals are present in a given body of water is important because different species utilize their habitat in different ways. Therefore, it is important to understand the distribution, abundance and movement of dolphins and whales over the day-night cycles and seasonal periods. The objective of this study is to map the distribution and abundance of whales and dolphins in selected regions of Hawaiian waters. The Pacific Missile Range is in the waters of Kauai and the Pearl Harbor Naval Base is the home of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. During the first year, five relatively low-cost autonomous, remote acoustic recorder denoted as the EAR Ecological Acoustic Recorder will be deployed around the island of Kaui and five more EARs will be moored around Oahu, to simultaneously monitor for the presence of dolphins and whales.

Subject Categories:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
  • Acoustic Detection and Detectors
  • Marine Engineering
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Naval Surface Warfare
  • Undersea and Antisubmarine Warfare

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