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Title: Injury Determinations for Humpback Whales and Other Cetaceans Reported to NOAA Response Networks in the Hawaiian Islands During 2017
Publication Date: 2019-05

Reports of cetaceans with human-caused injuries in Hawaiian waters are made each year to the Pacific Islands Region Marine Mammal Response Network (PIR-MMRN, coordinated by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pacific Islands Regional Office) and the Hawaiian Islands Entanglement Response Network (HIERN, coordinated by the NOAA Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary). These injury reports largely involve humpback whales that were entangled in fishing gear or marine debris or were struck by or otherwise made contact with a vessel. Bradford and Lyman (2015, 2018) made determinations of injury severity (i.e., serious or non-serious) for cetaceans in Hawaii reported injured by human causes during 2007–2016. Prior to this work, most human-caused injuries reported to PIR-MMRN and HIERN were not accounted for in the mortality and serious injury (M&SI) estimates that are a key component of the Stock Assessment Reports (SARs) for cetaceans in Hawaiian waters. The present paper provides a summary of injury determinations for cetaceans in Hawaii reported injured by human causes during 2017. Injury determinations were made using a nationally standardized process and criteria for distinguishing serious from non-serious injuries (NMFS 2012). During 2017, there were 12 reports of cetaceans with human-caused injuries, including 4 humpback whales involved in vessel collisions, 7 humpback whales entangled in presumed fishing gear or marine debris, and 1 pantropical spotted dolphin of the 4-Islands stock entangled in marine debris. The 11 humpback whale vessel collisions and entanglements led to 6.45 serious injuries, and the entangled spotted dolphin was determined to be seriously injured. Estimates of M&SI in the SARs are considered over five-year periods. The 2017 M&SI estimates can thus be compiled and averaged with those from 2013-2016 (Bradford and Lyman 2018) for the relevant 2019 SARs. While accounting for injuries reported to PIR-MMRN and HIERN has improved the stock assessment process for some populations, significantly more effort is needed to report, document, and monitor injured cetaceans in Hawaiian waters, particularly species other than humpback whales.

Other Citation Details:

Bradford AL, Lyman EG. 2019. Injury determinations for humpback whales and other cetaceans reported to NOAA response networks in the Hawaiian Islands during 2017. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-PIFSC-81, 18 p. doi:10.25923/7csm-h961.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.25923/7csm-h961


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None cetacean
None entanglement
None Hawaii
None human-caused injury
None humpback whale
None injury determination
None mortality
None serious injury
None vessel collision

Document Information

Document Type: Technical Memorandum (Tech Mem
Format: Acrobat Portable Document Format
Status Code: Published

Support Roles


CC ID: 1170867
Date Effective From: 2019
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Bradford, Amanda L
Address: 1845 Wasp Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96818
Email Address:
Phone: (808)725-5714
Business Hours: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 1170868
Start Date: 2019-05
End Date: Present
Download URL:
File Type (Deprecated): PDF
Distribution Format: PDF - Adobe Portable Document Format

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 56146
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:56146
Metadata Record Created By: Amanda L Bradford
Metadata Record Created: 2019-04-30 14:03+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-10-17 16:12+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-05-05
Owner Org: PIFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2022-05-05
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2023-05-05