Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Cetacean Assessment & Ecology Program survey project.

AFSC_ASAMM_2019.jpg

2019 ASAMM Chukchi and Beaufort Sea Study Areas and Transects.

Inter-agency agreements have been established between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of Interior and the Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. The intent of these agreements is to provide funding to conduct surveys of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and other marine mammals in the Alaskan Arctic.

The Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals (ASAMM) project is a continuation of the Bowhead Whale Aerial Survey Project (BWASP) and Chukchi Offshore Monitoring in Drilling Area (COMIDA) marine mammal aerial survey project.  BWASP was conducted from 1979 to 2010 and targeted the autumn migration of bowhead whales through the western Beaufort Sea, although line transect data on all marine mammals sighted were collected.  COMIDA surveys were conducted in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area in the northeastern Chukchi Sea from 1979 to 1991 and 2008 to 2010 to monitor marine mammal distribution, relative density, and behavior during the open-water (ice-free) months, from mid-June or early July to the end of October.  BWASP and COMIDA surveys were funded or conducted by the Minerals Management Service (now BOEM) and the Bureau of Land Management, and starting in 2008, the Marine Mammal Lab began co-managing the projects with BOEM.  In 2011, these projects were merged into ASAMM. Survey protocols have remained consistent since 1982.

The goal of ASAMM is to document the distribution and relative abundance of bowhead, gray, fin, humpback, killer, minke, and right whales, belugas, and other marine mammals in areas of potential oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production activities in the Alaskan Beaufort and northeastern Chukchi seas. The 2019 ASAMM field season will run from 1 July to 31 October (click here for daily survey reports). Data from the ASAMM surveys will be used to relate variation in marine mammal distribution or abundance to other variables, such as physical oceanographic conditions, indices of potential prey density, and anthropogenic activities if information on these variables is available.

ASAMM Survey Objectives

  1. Monitor the spatial and temporal variability in the density, distribution, and behavior (including calving/pupping, feeding, hauling out) of marine mammals (cetaceans, ice seals, walruses, and polar bears) in the Alaskan Arctic, primarily through line-transect aerial survey data, with supplementary information from aerial photo-identification data.
  2. Describe the annual migration of bowhead whales across the U.S. Arctic, including interannual variability or long-term trends in the spatial distribution and timing of the migration.
  3. Provide near real-time data or derived products, such as graphical data summaries, on marine mammals and environmental conditions in the U.S. Arctic to BOEM and NMFS.
  4. Provide information on marine mammal abundance and distribution to Alaska Natives for use in management of subsistence hunts and assessments of anthropogenic impacts on marine mammal resources.
  5. Provide an objective wide-area context for understanding marine mammal ecology in the U.S. Arctic to help inform management decisions and interpret results of other small-scale studies.

ASAMM Bowhead Abundance (ABA)

ASAMM Bowhead Abundance (ABA)
ABA 2019 Study Area and Transects.

In August 2019, ASAMM will conduct a bowhead whale abundance survey in the Alaskan and Canadian Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf. This project, ASAMM Bowhead Abundance (ABA), is a collaboration between NOAA, BOEM, the North Slope Borough, and our Canadian colleagues in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Inuvialuit Game Council, and Fisheries Joint Management Council. The Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) Sea bowhead whale stock is hunted for subsistence by Native groups in Alaska (and occasionally Russia). The most recent population abundance estimate for this stock is approximately 17,000, derived from a 2011 survey. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) sets the aboriginal subsistence quota for BCB bowhead whales, requiring a new population abundance estimate every 10 years. Based on IWC rules, a new abundance estimate is required by spring 2021. The objective of ABA is to apply ASAMM line-transect methodology to transects covering the Beaufort Sea shelf and Amundsen Gulf, with additional transects west of Pt. Barrow, east of Banks Island, and possibly in Viscount Melville Sound, within a three-week period in August. This area time period is when the majority of the population is typically within a relatively small area and can likely be surveyed using aerial line-transect methods. Although all bowhead whales might not be within this area at this time, post-survey analyses can address those concerns.

2019 Aerial Daily Survey Reports

DATE
FLIGHT
LOCATION
FILE
7/2/19 Flight 201 Chukchi Daily Report
7/3/19 Flight 202 Chukchi Daily Report
7/4/19 Flight 203 Chukchi Daily Report
7/5/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/6/19 Flight 204 Chukchi Daily Report
7/7/19 Flight 205 Chukchi Daily Report
7/8/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/9/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/10/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/11/19 Flight 206 Chukchi Daily Report
7/12/19 Flight 207 Chukchi Daily Report
7/13/19 Flight 208 Chukchi Daily Report
7/14/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/15/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/16/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/17/19 Flight 209 Chukchi Daily Report
7/18/19 Flight 210 Chukchi Daily Report
7/19/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/19/19 Flight 1 Beaufort Daily Report
7/20/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/20/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/21/19 Flight 211 Chukchi Daily Report
7/21/19 Flight 2 Beaufort Daily Report
7/22/19 Flight 212 Chukchi Daily Report
7/22/19 Flight 3 Beaufort Daily Report
7/23/19 Flight 213 Chukchi Daily Report
7/23/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/24/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/24/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/25/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/25/19 Flight 4 Beaufort Daily Report
7/26/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/26/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/27/19 Flight 214 Chukchi Daily Report
7/27/19 Flight 5 Beaufort Daily Report
7/28/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/28/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/29/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
7/29/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
7/30/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
7/30/19 Flight 6 Beaufort Daily Report
7/31/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
7/31/19 Flight 7 Beaufort Daily Report
8/1/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
8/1/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
8/2/19 Flight 215 Chukchi Daily Report
8/2/19 Flight 8 Beaufort Daily Report
8/3/19 No Flight - Team Dispatched to Bowhead Abundance Surveys Chukchi N/A
8/3/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
8/4/19 Flight 9 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/4/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/4/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/5/19 Flight 10 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/5/19 No Flight - Training - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/5/19 No Flight - Training - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/6/19 Flight 11 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/6/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/6/19 No Flight - Repositioning Personal - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/7/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/7/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/7/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/8/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/8/19 Flight 401 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/8/19 Flight 216 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/9/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/9/19 Flight 402 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/9/19 Flight 217 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/10/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/10/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/10/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/11/19 Flight 12 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/11/19 Flight 403 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/11/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/12/19 Flight 13 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/12/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/12/19 Flight 218 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/13/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/13/19 Flight 404 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/13/19 Flight 219 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/14/19 Flight 14 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/14/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/14/19 Flight 220 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/15/19 Flight 15 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/15/19 Flight 405 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/15/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/16/19 Flight 16 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/16/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/16/19 Flight 221 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/17/19 Flight 17 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/17/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/17/19 Flight 222 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/18/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/18/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/18/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/19/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/19/19 Flight 406 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/19/19 Flight 223 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/20/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/20/19 Flight 407 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/20/19 Flight 224 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/21/19 Flight 18 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/21/19 Flight 408 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/21/19 Flight 225 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/22/19 Flight 19 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/22/19 Flight 409 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/22/19 Flight 226 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/23/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/23/19 Flight 227 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/23/19 Flight 410 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/24/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey West N/A
8/24/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey East N/A
8/24/19 No Flight - Weather - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central N/A
8/25/19 Flight 20 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/25/19 Flight 411 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/25/19 Flight 228 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/26/19 Flight 21 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/26/19 Flight 412 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/26/19 Flight 229 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/27/19 Flight 22 - Bowhead Abundance Survey West Daily Report
8/27/19 Flight 413 - Bowhead Abundance Survey East Daily Report
8/27/19 Flight 230 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Central Daily Report
8/28/19 Flight 23 - Bowhead Abundance Survey Beaufort Daily Report
8/28/19 No Flight - Aircraft transiting back to the US from Canada. Chukchi N/A
8/29/19 No Flight - Repositioning after surveys in Canada Chukchi N/A
8/29/19 Flight 24 Beaufort Daily Report
8/30/19 Flight 231 Chukchi Daily Report
8/30/19 Flight 25 Beaufort Daily Report
8/31/19 Flight 232 Chukchi Daily Report
8/31/19 Flight 26 Beaufort Daily Report
9/1/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/1/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/2/19 Flight 233 Chukchi Daily Report
9/2/19 Flight 27 Beaufort Daily Report
9/3/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/3/19 Flight 28 Beaufort Daily Report
9/4/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/4/19 Flight 29 Beaufort Daily Report
9/5/19 Flight 234 Chukchi Daily Report
9/5/19 Flight 30 Beaufort Daily Report
9/6/19 Flight 235 Chukchi Daily Report
9/6/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/7/19 Flight 236 Chukchi Daily Report
9/7/19 Flight 31 Beaufort Daily Report
9/8/19 Flight 237 Chukchi Daily Report
9/8/19 Flight 32 Beaufort Daily Report
9/9/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
9/9/19 Flight 33 Beaufort Daily Report
9/10/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
9/10/19 Flight 34 Beaufort Daily Report
9/11/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
9/11/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/12/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Chukchi N/A
9/12/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/13/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/13/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/14/19 Flight 238 Chukchi Daily Report
9/14/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/15/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/15/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/16/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/16/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/17/19 Flight 239 Chukchi Daily Report
9/17/19 Flight 35 Beaufort Daily Report
9/18/19 Flight 240 Chukchi Daily Report
9/18/19 Flight 36 Beaufort Daily Report
9/19/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/19/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
9/20/19 Flight 241 Chukchi Daily Report
9/20/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Beaufort N/A
9/21/19 Flight 242 Chukchi Daily Report
9/21/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Beaufort N/A
9/22/19 Flight 243 Chukchi Daily Report
9/22/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Beaufort N/A
9/23/19 Flight 244 Chukchi Daily Report
9/23/19 No Flight - Scheduled Maintenance Beaufort N/A
9/24/19 Flight 245 Chukchi Daily Report
9/24/19 Flight 37 Beaufort Daily Report
9/25/19 Flight 246 Chukchi Daily Report
9/25/19 Flight 38 Beaufort Daily Report
9/26/19 Flight 247 Chukchi Daily Report
9/26/19 Flight 39 Beaufort Daily Report
9/27/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/27/19 Flight 40 Beaufort Daily Report
9/28/19 Flight 248 Chukchi Daily Report
9/28/19 Flight 41 Beaufort Daily Report
9/29/19 Flight 249 Chukchi Daily Report
9/29/19 Flight 42 Beaufort Daily Report
9/30/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
9/30/19 Flight 43 Beaufort Daily Report
10/1/19 Flight 250 Chukchi Daily Report
10/1/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
10/2/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/2/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
10/3/19 Flight 251 Chukchi Daily Report
10/3/19 Flight 44 Beaufort Daily Report
10/4/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/4/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
10/5/19 Flight 252 Chukchi Daily Report
10/5/19 Flight 45 Beaufort Daily Report
10/6/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/6/19 No Flight - Weather Beaufort N/A
10/7/19 Flight 253 Chukchi Daily Report
10/7/19 Flight 46 Beaufort Daily Report
10/8/19 Flight 254 Chukchi Daily Report
10/8/19 Flight 47 Beaufort Daily Report
10/9/19 Flight 255 Chukchi Daily Report
10/9/19 Flight 48 Beaufort Daily Report
10/10/19 Flight 256 Chukchi Daily Report
10/10/19 Flight 49 Beaufort Daily Report
10/11/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/12/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/13/19 Flight 257 Chukchi Daily Report
10/14/19 Flight 258 Chukchi Daily Report
10/15/19 Flight 259 Chukchi Daily Report
10/16/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/17/19 Flight 260 Chukchi Daily Report
10/18/19 Flight 261 Chukchi Daily Report
10/19/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/20/19 Flight 262 Chukchi Daily Report
10/21/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/22/19 Flight 263 Chukchi Daily Report
10/23/19 Flight 264 Chukchi Daily Report
10/24/19 Flight 265 Chukchi Daily Report
10/25/19 Flight 266 Chukchi Daily Report
10/26/19 Flight 267 Chukchi Daily Report
10/27/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A
10/28/19 Flight 268 Chukchi Daily Report
10/29/19 Flight 269 Chukchi Daily Report
10/30/19 No Flight - Weather Chukchi N/A

Aerial Survey Reports Archive

Additional Resources

Resources

data

2015 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

Sea ice cover in the study area in 2015 was generally light compared with historical (pre-2007) sea ice cover. In early July, sea ice in the eastern

data

2016 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

Sea ice cover in the study area in 2016 was generally light compared with historical (pre-2007) sea ice cover. When surveys commenced in early July,

data

2017 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

Sea ice cover in the study area in 2017 was light compared with historical (pre-2007) sea ice cover. When surveys commenced in early July, sea ice