To derive a new BCB bowhead abundance estimate in a more timely manner, the ASAMM Bowhead Abundance project (aka: ABA) was conceived.
With the assistance of the international collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, North Slope Borough, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Inuvialuit Game Council, and Fisheries Joint Management Council, ABA surveys were conducted across the Beaufort Sea and in Amundsen Gulf during the month of August.
- Flights: 40
- Flight Hours: 167
- Kilometers Flown: 43,320
- Transect Flight Hours: 76
- Transect Kilometers Flown: 15,990
Most bowhead whales were in four general areas in the eastern Beaufort Sea: 1) Franklin Bay in western Amundsen Gulf; 2) near Cape Bathurst; 3) off the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula; and 4) north of Herschel Island. Far fewer bowhead whales were seen in the western Beaufort Sea, with sightings as far west as Cape Halkett. Sixty-five bowhead whale calves were seen.
Data collected during ABA will be further analyzed over the next year, and a report on the new BCB bowhead abundance estimate will be submitted to the IWC in spring 2020.