Research plan of the cetacean sighting survey in the central Sea of Okhotsk in 2020
Pavel S. Gushcherov, Petr A. Tiupeleev, Vitaliy I. Samonov and Tomio Miyashita
International Whaling Commission
The sixth dedicated systematic cetacean sighting survey will be conducted in the central Sea of Okhotsk using a Russian research vessel, VLADIMIR SAFONOV, in 2020. The vessel is a stern trawl type research vessel with a barrel for observation. The objective of the survey is to obtain information on distribution and abundance of large whales using the normal closing mode. The period of survey will be from 5 August to 5 September (32 days), and the research area is the central waters of the Sea of Okhotsk including the high seas. During the transit to the research area, the vessel will conduct the sighting survey in passing mode. The distance and angle estimation training and experiment will be conducted during the survey. Photo-identification of cetaceans such as northern right whales, gray whales and humpback whales will also be attempted. When a peeled skin is found after breaching, the vessel will try to collect as DNA sample using a landing net.