Results of the fourth biological field survey of NEWREP-A during the 2018/19 austral summer season
Takeharu Bando, Takashi Yoshida, Kazuyoshi Nakai, Yuho Yoneyama, Daichi Oshiyama, Masaomi Tsunekawa, Shinya Kawabe, Futoshi Yamaguchi, Seiichiro Teruya, Hiroshi Eguchi, Toshihiro Mogoe and Tsutomu Tamura
This paper reports the results of the biological sampling of Antarctic minke whales during the fourth New Scientific Whale Research Program in the Antarctic Ocean (NEWREP-A) conducted in Area III (0Ã‚Â°-70Ã‚Â°E, south of 60Ã‚Â°S) during the 2018/19 austral summer season. The paper also reports the results of the sighting surveys and non-lethal experiments. Two sighting and sampling vessels (SSVs) and one research base vessel engaged in the survey for 72 days. A total of 362 sightings (involving 602 individuals) of Antarctic minke whale were made during 3,907 n.miles of searching distance. A total of 333 Antarctic minke whales (186 males and 147 females) were sampled, and a number of biological samples and data required for the two main objectives of NEWREP-A were obtained from each whale taken. In Area III-West, the survey was conducted early in the season (December to early February) for the first time since the start of JARPA survey in 1987/88. A total of 245 Antarctic minke whale (143 males and 102 females) were sampled in Area III-West. The obtained samples will contribute to elucidation of the stock structure of Antarctic minke whales, especially to elucidation of the western boundary of the Indian Ocean stock (I-stock). A total of eight southern right and 36 humpback whales were photo-identified and biopsy samples were collected from eight southern right, 29 humpback, two fin and one Antarctic minke whales in and transit to the research area. The samples and data collected in this survey are available for interested national and international scientists under the guidelines for research collaboration posted at the home page of the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR): http://www.icrwhale.org/NEWREP-AProtocol.html.