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Research Document - 2011/137

Information relevant to the assessment of critical habitat for Blue, Fin, Sei and North Pacific Right Whales in British Columbia

By L.M. Nichol and J.K.B. Ford


Blue, Fin, Sei and North Pacific Right Whales in Canadian Pacific waters are listed as Endangered or Threatened under the Species at Risk Act, which requires the identification and protection of Critical Habitat. Available data on current distribution and habitat use by these species is reviewed and assessed with respect to its adequacy for the identification of Critical Habitat. Information was obtained from Fisheries and Oceans Canada ship-based surveys, remote passive acoustic monitoring and photo-identification studies. In addition, opportunistic sightings databases and published literature were reviewed. Descriptions of physiographic and oceanographic features that may influence prey density in various regions of the coast are included as these are likely important characteristics of habitat for these species. As there is insufficient information and significant gaps in survey coverage, particularly of historically occupied habitat, future research is described that will be necessary to support identification of Critical Habitat for these species.

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