Outline of a research program to investigate the abundance, abundance trends and stock structure of large whales in the Indo-Pacific region of the Antarctic, including a survey plan for the 2019/20 austral summer season
Government of Japan
This paper outlines the objectives, survey and analytical procedures and work schedule of a new research program on whales and the ecosystem in the Indo-Pacific region of the Antarctic (JASS-A= Japanese Abundance and Stock structure Surveys in the Antarctic). The main research objectives are i) the study of the abundance and abundance trends of Antarctic minke and other large whale species, and ii) the study of the distribution, movement and stock structure of Antarctic minke and other large whale species. JASS-A also has several secondary research objectives related to oceanographic, marine debris and whale biology. The research program will be based on systematic sighting surveys utilizing the Line Transect Method, to be conducted alternatively in IWC Areas III, IV, V and VI by one or two specialized vessels, during a tentative period of eight austral summer seasons. Analyses related to main and secondary objectives will be conducted based on new as well previous data collected by JARPA/JARPAII and NEWREP-A in the same research area. Therefore the analyses under each of the objectives will be based on large and consistent data sets. The survey plan for the 2019/20 austral summer season is presented as an appendix to this document.