Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au (HS51) Hydrographic Survey Marine Mammal Observations
CitationMackay K, Davy N (2018). Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au (HS51) Hydrographic Survey Marine Mammal Observations. Version 1.4. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). Sampling event dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/s7ctpf accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-17.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd (NIWA) was contracted in October 2016 by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to undertake hydrographic surveying services for the Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au Hydrographic Survey (HS51).
This survey comprises both hydrographic (LINZ) and habitat mapping (Marlborough District Council (MDC)), requirements which are met by a National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWA) led partnership with Discovery Marine Limited (DML).
These Marine Mammal Observations form part of the deliverables required for LINZ project HYD-2016/17-01 (HS51) Contract No 20058 for the Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au Hydrographic Survey. This project is referred to as HS51. The Observations are submitted in accordance with the HS51 Services Agreement Contract and Marine Mammal Liaison Group (MMLG) Specifications.
Marine mammals, in particular dolphins are a regular occurrence in the Marlborough Sounds. The species are important both nationally and internationally. There are eight marine mammal species known to frequent the Sounds (Davidson et al., 2011). Two of these are classified as nationally endangered (Hectors and Bottlenose) and one is considered nationally critical (Killer whale or Orca).
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and Discovery Marine Limited (DML) were contracted to map the seabed in the Marlborough Sounds (Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and Tory Channel/Kura Te Au) using multibeam sounders. The frequency of the sound emitted by a multibeam echo sounder is outside the hearing range of marine mammals in the Sounds, however as a precaution, NIWA ensured best practice for minimising survey activities in the immediate proximity of marine mammals, including logging all sightings while on multibeam effort.
Mulitbeam operators and surveyors logged marine mammal sightings. Blue Planet Marine (BPM) was contracted prior to the survey to provide a review of the potential efforts of a multibeam survey of Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel and make suggestions as to best practice to minimise disturbance. Overall they concluded the survey was in the category of ‘minimal disturbance’ hence not requiring a dedicated MMO onboard (Blue Planet Marine, 2016). This report also gave some recommendations, including survey teams to log sightings, that NIWA adopted in the survey plan.
Study ExtentQueen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au
SamplingMarine Mammal Observations from a hydrographic multibeam survey
Quality ControlThe crew on board RV Ikatere and RV Rukuwai underwent a briefing with NIWA’s senior experienced trained Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) Niki Davey on Monday 24th October 2017. MMO sightings were matched against photography and WORMS for validation of species identification. Positions were plotted within a GIS to ensure geographic integrity.
- The crew on board RV Ikatere and RV Rukuwai underwent a briefing with NIWA’s senior experienced trained Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) Niki Davey on Monday 24th October 2017. Marine mammal observations and subsequent sightings are only required when the multibeam is in operation (on effort). However any opportunistic sightings made at any other time were encouraged to be recorded as well. During this meeting the crew were briefed in the following areas to ensure a rigorous as possible approach to recording marine mammal sightings is being taken: * Identification: An identification booklet outlining the features of the 8 important marine mammal species known in the Marlborough Sounds was provided to each vessel. This includes notes on fin shape, beak presence/absence, colouration and an indication of adult size. The species we can expect the crew to encounter are Bottlenose, Dusky, Hectors, common dolphins, and Killer (Orca), humpback, southern right whales. Also to be recorded was the New Zealand fur seal. * Logsheets: These were provided for the crew and covered the general areas of animal number and species, environment at sea, location and animal details. The priority fields included GPS location (of vessel when sighting made), species to best of ability, number of animals and whether a photo was taken. Each log sheet field was discussed during the briefing. * Photography: A camera was provided for the crew on the RV Ikatere. Images of the animals were encouraged when it was possible. Emphasis was made on beaks and fins. * Environmental: Laminated sheets covering the Beaufort scale was provided for additional information in the environmental section. * Observations: The crew were also briefed on the difficulties in spotting marine mammals up against a coastal back drop such as the Sounds and recommendations were to look using both the naked eye and with binoculars. Also vigilance was emphasised when the vessels enter bays and come around headlands. Also known areas of resident populations have been noted with extra vigilance encouraged here also. * Reporting: The logsheets were scanned and sent to the MMO on a weekly basis. These sightings are entered in ARC GIS and a graphic display produced, with brief written commentary, and provided within a set of weekly MMO reports, submitted to the Marine Mammal Liaison Group monthly.
Additional infomarine, harvested by iOBIS
- Davey N, Neil H, and HS51 Survey Team (2017): Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and Tory Channel / Kura Te Au (HS51) Hydrographic Survey Marine Mammal Observations. v1. NIWA Client Report 2017208WN. -
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