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Revista de biología marina y oceanografía

On-line version ISSN 0718-1957

Abstract

PACHECO, Aldo S; VILLEGAS, Viviana K; RIASCOS, José M  and  VAN WAEREBEEK, Koen. Presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in Mejillones Bay, a major seaport area in northern Chile. Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. [online]. 2015, vol.50, n.2, pp.383-389. ISSN 0718-1957.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-19572015000300017.

In this paper we report the apparently seasonal presence of fin whales in Mejillones Bay (23°S), in northern Chile. We compiled a total of 19 sightings representing 95 whales, including 2 mother-calf pairs, between July and October 2006-2014. We observed groups of 1-10 individuals (mean 5 ± 2.7 ind.) principally in nearshore waters, 30-1000 m off the southwestern tip of Mejillones Bay in austral winter/spring. Fin whales came close to, and potentially overlapped with, the main port access routes of large cargo vessels. Information from real-time monitoring of whale presence relayed to Port Authorities is suggested as to avoid collisions.

Keywords : Balaenoptera physalus; neritic waters; upwelling center; seasonality.

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