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Report of the Norwegian 2017 survey for minke whales within the Small Management Area EB - the Barents Sea
Nils I Oien
International Whaling Commission
As part of a six-year program over the period 2014-2019 with the aim to get a new estimate of minke whale abundance in the Northeast Atlantic at the end of the period, the Barents Sea east of 28⁰E, comprising the Small Management Area EB, was surveyed with one vessel during the summer June-August 2017. The intended total survey area was divided into five blocks of which one (EB5) was not covered at all. The others received a reasonable coverage. About 2,944 nautical miles of primary search effort was conducted within the survey blocks. The most common species sighted were minke whale, white-beaked dolphin and harbour porpoise. Apparently minke whale sighting rates have increased about 30 % since the previous survey in 2013 in the area and thus may confirm that major distributional shifts are going on at least with regards to minke whales in the northeastern Atlantic. Fin and humpback whales have remained the same sighting rates and distributional patterns. A group of Greenland right whales was sighted in open waters around 78°55’N, 55°51’E on 18 July 2017.