Report of the Norwegian 2018 survey for minke whales within the Small Management Area EN- the North Sea and fjord surveys for harbour porpoises in western Norway
Nils I Oien
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 North Sea Small Management Area EN, and the Norwegian Sea block EW4, were surveyed with one vessel during the summer June-August 2018. The intended total survey area comprised of four offshore blocks which all received a reasonable coverage. About 3,137 nautical miles of primary search effort was conducted within these survey blocks. The most common species sighted were harbour porpoise and minke whale. Apparently the minke whale sighting rate in the North Sea was about 50 % higher in 2018 than in the previous survey year 2009. Minke whales also seemed to have a more northern distribution in the North Sea in 2018 than in 2009. Fjords in western Norway were surveyed and revealed relatively high densities of harbour porpoises which are supposed to be a significant contribution to their North Sea abundance estimates.