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Photo-identification of Antarctic blue whales during the ENRICH Voyage 2019
Paula A. Olson, Charlotte Boyd, Elanor Miller, Lyn Irvine, Ailbhe S. Kavanagh, David Donnelly, M. Vanesa Reyes Reyes, Joshua Smith, Russell Leaper, Susannah Calderan, Brian S. Miller, Elanor Bell, Natalie Kelly, Karen Westwood, Michael C. Double
Twenty-five Antarctic blue whales (21 left sides, 21 right sides) were photo-identified during the AAD ENRICH2019 multi-disciplinary research voyage in IWC Management Area V. Identification photographs were compared to the Antarctic Blue Whale Catalogue with the result of one inter-annual match. Whale #1306 wasseen previously in 2013 (six-year time interval) with a 384 km straight-line distance between sighting locations. No whales were photographically recaptured within the voyage, whereas recapture rates from the Antarctic Blue Whale Voyages in 2013 and 2015 and three IWC SOWER voyages ranged from 7 to 22%. The 24 new IDs from the voyage were incorporated into the Antarctic Blue Whale Catalogue, which now totals 552 identified blue whales. The photo-identification data collected during the voyage will contribute towards a new abundance estimate of Antarctic blue whales using capture-recapture methods.