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Whale Depredation Workshop

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Location

Vancouver Rowing Club

450 Stanley Park Drive

Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 3E2

Canada

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Description

Ocean Wise: Whale Depredation Workshop

Depredation (removal of fish caught in fishing gear) by toothed whales is a widespread problem in many oceans around the world. Negative impacts of depredation include economic losses to fishermen, increased pressure on fish stocks, and injury or mortality to whales. Anecdotes regarding incidents of depredation by killer whales (Orcinus orca) and sperm whales (Physeter microcephalus) are relatively common on the coast of British Columbia among halibut, black cod, and salmon fishermen, and appear to be increasing. Hook and line fisheries appear to be the most frequently targeted, although fisheries using pots or trawl gear can contribute to the problem by discarding offal and releasing bycatch in the presence of whales. Cetaceans are highly intelligent and social, and once learned, these behaviours are very difficult to extinguish and may spread to other members of a population. While the issue may still be under control here in British Columbia, collaboration on ways to prevent the spread of the behaviour is key to ensuring that fisheries are not more significantly affected in future.

In 2006, an International Depredation Symposium was hosted by the cetacean research department at the Vancouver Aquarium (Ocean Wise). This initial symposium developed guidelines for fishermen and fisheries managers affected by killer whale and sperm whale depredation. This follow-up workshop will bring together the necessary fisheries representatives, managers, and scientists to continue and update this discussion of whale depredation, to discuss developments in depredation prevention, to learn from experience in Alaska where depredation causes significant loss to fisheries, and to develop a direction forward for British Columbia.

Participant Registration

For this small focused workshop, our aim is to engage around 25 participants. We are inviting 2-5 participants from each the following fleets: halibut, salmon, sablefish, and ground fish trawl to join this discussion with scientists and fisheries managers. We are especially looking to engage with fishers with first-hand experience of whale depredation. Guest speakers will include Professor Jan Straley from Alaska, Dr. John Ford, Dr. Lance Barret-Lennard, and Jared Towers.

To RSVP to this event, please register on this page.

Objectives & Expected Outcomes

  • To learn from the fisheries sectors about the current scope and impact of killer whale and sperm whale depredation in B.C.

  • To review lessons learned from whale depredation occurring in other regions (Alaska) and discuss what strategies have been successful or unsuccessful.

  • To develop an effective reporting system of whale depredation incidents in fisheries, including future research directions and methods for data collection.o To educate the fishing fleet regarding best practices for dealing with whale depredation. (e.g. Understand what cues whales use to locate boats)

  • To discuss the most effective methods to share information out to the fishing fleets and amongst scientists and fisheries managers.

Agenda (more details to follow)

February 7th, 2018 - February 9th, 2018

Day 1: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Day 2 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Day 3 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

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Location

Vancouver Rowing Club

450 Stanley Park Drive

Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 3E2

Canada

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