How may an annual removal of humpback whales from Godthaabsfjord, West Greenland, affect the within-fjord sighting rate?

Main Article Content

Tenna Kragh Boye
Malene Simon
Lars Witting


Photo-identifications of humpback whales in the Godthaabsfjord area were collected from 2007 to 2012 and divided into individuals and number of sightings per individual. Monte Carlo simulations were performed on the sighting distributions of individual humpback whales to investigate the potential impact that local removals (e.g. ship strikes, subsistence hunt) could have on the sighting rate of humpback whales in Godthaabsfjord. Half of the sightings were based on the same six individuals during the six year period. Sighting rate was likely to drop regardless of when (spring, summer or autumn) an individual was removed due to the large degree of site fidelity of several humpback whales in Godthaabsfjord. Removals could affect the whalewatching industry in Godthaabsfjord where humpback whales constitute a key species. The least impact may be achieved by conducting the hunt outside the fjord system or minimising summer or autumn hunts within the fjord, as spring removals tend to have the least effect on summer sighting rates.

Article Details