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Revista de biología marina y oceanografía

On-line version ISSN 0718-1957

Abstract

PAVES, Héctor J. et al. Sightings and distribution patterns of marine mammals in the central-south coast of Chile. Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. [online]. 2020, vol.55, n.3, pp.225-237.  Epub Dec 01, 2020. ISSN 0718-1957.  http://dx.doi.org/10.22370/rbmo.2020.55.3.2587.

Marine mammals (MM) are key components of marine ecosystems, becoming important predators in them. Its monitoring allows to know the state of its populations and the health of the ecosystem. For this reason, the diversity, abundance and spatial and temporal distribution of MM in the center-south of Chile will be determined. Scientific observers recorded seasonal presence of MM over a year from land and sea platforms (winter-2016 to autumn-2017). Four species of MM were identified with a total of ~12,000 sightings. The most frequent species was the sea lion (LMC, ~99%), then the Chilean dolphin (DCh), and isolated records of southern right whale and blue whale. The greatest sightings of the LMC and larger cetaceans were recorded in summer, while for DCh, it was in autumn. In Cobquecura, the greatest sightings of LMC were registered (>80%). The larger cetaceans were sighted at >1,500 m from the coast and the DCh at <500 m, around the Itata river. At sea, the greatest sightings of LMC were recorded in spring, during the period of fishing activity, as was the record of more sea lions dead. Although the number of MM identified here is not greater than that described for other parts of Chile, should to be consider that three of these species are classified under threat. In addition, here there is one of the most important groups of DCh and LMC in the central-southern Chile, exposed to important operational interactions with the fisheries. This makes necessary to promptly establish coastal protection measures to ensure the conservation of these marine mammals in central-southern Chile and with it, throughout the Chilean coast.

Keywords : Marine mammals; sea lions; Chilean dolphins; fisheries.

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