High Numbers of Cetacean Strandings Observed During Intensive Beach Monitoring Along the SE/S Brazilian Coast (2015-2019)
Andre S. Barreto; C. B. Barbosa; M. Carrion; . V. Castilho; H. Chupil; M. J. Cremer; J. Dick; C. Domit; K. R. Groch; C. K. M. Kolesnikovas; A. Maranho; D. F. Godoy; R. M. Taufer; R. R. Valle; J. V. Vieira
International Whaling Commission
The Santos Basin Beach Monitoring Program (Projeto de Monitoramento de Praias da Bacia de Santos - PMP-BS) is one of the monitoring programs required by the Brazilian federal environmental agency, IBAMA, for the environmental licensing of the oil and natural gas production and transport by Petrobras at the pre-salt province (25⁰05’S 42⁰35'W to 25⁰55’S 43⁰34’W), between 2100m and 2300m isobaths. Since late 2015, approximately 1040km of coastline are being systematically monitored, either daily (65% of the area) or weekly (14% of the area), or through calls from local population (21% of the area), to evaluate the potential impacts of these activities on marine turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. From September 2015 to March 2020, 215 baleen whales and 4,162 toothed whales were recorded stranded along the states of São Paulo, Paraná and Santa Catarina. At least 7 species of mysticetes and 20 of odontocetes were recorded, but humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were responsible for 36.4% of baleen whale strandings and franciscanas (Pontoporia blainvillei) and Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) for 80.6% of all toothed whales. Distribution of strandings was also heterogeneous, with areas of higher concentrations in all states. The intensive monitoring that has been underway along this large area revealed a much higher number of carcasses than previously recorded the institutions that for decades have been working in the area, especially concerning small cetaceans. For franciscanas, the number of stranded animals seems to indicate unsustainable levels of bycatch in fisheries.