Field Report for Vessel Operations in Cook Inlet Alaska
Population studies on beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska, to determine an abundance estimate
The National Marine Mammal Laboratory in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region, Alaska Beluga Whale Commission, and the Cook Inlet Marine Mammal Council conducted population studies on beluga whales in Cook Inlet in the summer of 1955. NOAA Fisheries and CIMMC provided boats and personnel, and the ABWC provided funding. The overall objective of the research was to determine an abundance estimate for the Cook Inlet beluga whales. The research plan consisted of three parts: an aerial survey (see Rugh et al.), a dive behavior study using satellite-linked dive recorders, and a surfacing behavior study using VHF radio transmitters attached via suction cups. Efforts to satellite tag beluga whales were made from July 18 to July 31, 1995. Radio tagging work was conducted from August 2 to August 7, 1995. The vessel work in Cook Inlet included four boats: a 15-foot inflatable Zodiak (NOAA Fisheries), and 18-foot inflatable Avon (NOAA Fisheries), a 20-foot wooden boat (native owned), and an 18-foot aluminum boat (native owned).