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Research plan of the cetacean sighting survey in the north western Sea of Okhotsk in 2018
Pavel S. Gushcherov, Petr A. Tiupeleev, Vitaly I. Samonov and Tomio Miyashita
International Whaling Commission
Using a Russian research vessel, BЛАДИМИР САΦΟΗΟΒ (VLADIMIR SAFONOV), a dedicated systematic cetacean sighting survey will be conducted in the north western part of the Sea of Okhotsk in 2018. 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 3 August to 6 September (35 days), and the vessel covers the research area (north of the Sakhalin Island to 57oN, west of 142oE including the Shantar Islands). The research area will consist of four blocks. During the transit to the research area, the vessel will conduct the sighting survey in passing mode to enhance research capability of the crews and researchers. 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 be also be attempted. When a peeled skin is found after breaching, the vessel will try to collect as DNA sample using a landing net.