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Title: Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska
Author: Commission, Marine Mammal, Commerce, United States Department of
Language: English
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 National Technical Information Service





QL 737 .C424 H86x

Humpback whales in Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska

 Report No. MMC-79/01


 Marine Mammal Commission
 1625 I Street, N.W.
 Washington, D.C.  20006

 Published February 1980

 Availability Unlimited

 U.S. Marine Mammal Commission
 1625 I Street, N.W.
 Washington, D.C.  20006



                                              REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE
 |1. Report No.           |2.             |3. Recipient's Accession No.|
 |                        |               |                            |
 |  MMC-79/01             |               |      PB 80 141559          |
 |4. Title and Subtitle                   |5. Report Date              |
 |                                        |  October 1979              |
 |  Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay        +----------------------------+
 |  National Monument, Alaska             |6.                          |
 |7. Author(s)                            |8. Performing Organization  |
 |                                        |   Report No.               |
 |  Marine Mammal Commission              |                            |
 |9. Performing Organization Name         |10. Project/Task/Work       |
 |   and Address                          |    Unit No.                |
 |                                        |                            |
 |  Marine Mammal Commission              +----------------------------+
 |  1625 I Street, N.W.                   |11. Contract or Grant No.   |
 |  Washington, D.C.  20006               |                            |
 |                                        +----------------------------+
 +----------------------------------------+13. Type of Report          |
 |12. Sponsoring Organization Name        |                            |
 |    and Address                         |  Final Report              |
 |                                        |                            |
 |  Same as above.                        +----------------------------+
 |                                        |14.                         |
 |15. Supplementary Notes                                              |
 |                                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 |16. Abstract                                                         |
 |                                                                     |
 |  The waters of Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska, appear to be  |
 |  an important humpback whale (_Megaptera novaeangliae_) summering   |
 |  area.  In 1979, fewer whales used Glacier Bay than expected, based |
 |  on previous observations.  This report, of an Interagency Review   |
 |  Meeting held in Seattle, Washington, on 12-13 October 1979,        |
 |  discusses management and research activities relating to humpback  |
 |  whales in Glacier Bay National Monument and surrounding  waters.   |
 |                                                                     |
 |17. Originator's Key Words              |18. Availability Statement  |
 |  Humpback Whales                       |                            |
 |   (_Megaptera novaeangliae_)           |                            |
 |  Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska |  Availability unlimited    |
 |  Southeast Alaska                      |                            |
 |                                        |                            |
 |19. U.S. Security  |20. U.S. Security   |21. No. of Pages |22. Price |
 |    Classif. of    |    Classif. of     |                 |          |
 |    the Report     |    This Page       |                 |          |
 |                   |                    |                 |          |
  This Form may be reproduced.



 PREFACE                                                             1

 INTRODUCTION                                                        2

 BACKGROUND                                                          2

      Distribution and Abundance of Humpback Whales
      in the North Pacific                                           2

      Glacier Bay                                                    3

      Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay                                 7

      Human Use of Glacier Bay                                      10

 FROM THE BAY                                                       13

 ADEQUACY OF EXISTING DATA                                          21

 UNDER CONSIDERATION                                                21

 ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS                                     23

 RESEARCH/MANAGEMENT STRATEGY                                       24

 AND COORDINATION                                                   26

 SUMMARY                                                            27

 REFERENCES                                                         29




 1. Relative abundance and distribution of identified
    humpback whales in southeast Alaskan waters 1967-79              8

 2. Number of humpback whales (individual census)
    entering Glacier Bay during "influxes"                           9

 3. Age composition of humpback whales per year in
    Glacier Bay                                                      9

 4. Juraszs' description of "stress behavior"                       11

 5. Juraszs' vessel/aircraft classes                                12

 6. Number of visitors and vessels to Glacier Bay
    National Monument                                               14

 7. Number of vessel sightings per month in each
    class as seen from the Juraszs' R/V GINJUR                      15

 8. Average vessel sightings per day in each class
    as seen from the Juraszs' R/V GINJUR                            16



 1. Southeast Alaska, Alexander Archipelago                          4

 2. Glacier Bay, Alaska                                              5

 3. Glacier Bay, Alaska showing former positions of
    termini 1760-1966                                                6

 4. Commercial fishing vessel visits to Glacier Bay                 17

 5. Commercial fishing activity Glacier Bay                         18

 6. Fishing charter boats and private boat visits
    to Glacier Bay 1970-1977                                        19


In 1976, the National Park Service initiated a study to determine
whether increased boat traffic or boating activities were having an
adverse impact on humpback whales inhabiting Glacier Bay National
Monument during the summer months. In 1978, the whales entered the Bay
as usual, but left sooner than expected. The scientists conducting the
whale studies believed that the early departure of the whales was
precipitated by increased boat traffic in the Bay and, in 1979, the
Park Service, in consultation with the cruise ship industry, developed
and implemented operational guidelines for vessel course and speed in
designated areas, where it was felt that vessel interactions with
incoming whales could cause the most disturbance.

Researchers spent many hours looking for whales in the Bay during the
early part of the 1979 summer season, but few whales were seen.
Several interactions between vessels and those whales present in the
Bay were observed and, on one occasion, a whale known to have had an
interaction with a vessel left the Bay. Monument personnel discussed
the problem with the area office of the National Park Service. A
number of options, including emergency closure of the Bay were
considered. It was decided to provide funds for a more thorough
analysis of the available information on whale/vessel interactions,
and to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

The NMFS was advised of the situation and, on 10 August 1979, NPS and
NMFS representatives met in Seattle, Washington to review available
information concerning the nature and possible causes of the departure
of whales from the Bay. Another meeting was held in late August to
discuss the problem with members of the cruise ship industry. It was
agreed that additional research was needed to better define the nature
and possible causes of the problem and that a meeting should be held
to discuss possible research approaches with other professionals in
the marine mammal field. These decisions led to the meeting described
in this report.

Subsequent to the meeting reported here, the National Marine Fisheries
Service in a letter dated December 3, 1979, responded to the National
Park Service's request for a Section 7 consultation. A copy of the
NMFS's response is provided in Appendix D of this report.


Humpback whales (_Megaptera novaeangliae_) inhabit the inland waters
of southeast Alaska, including Glacier Bay during the summer months
(June-August). In the years from 1967 through 1977, 20 to 25
individually recognizable whales were observed feeding in Glacier Bay.
In 1978, the whales entered the bay but left earlier than expected. In
1979, only a few humpbacks entered Glacier Bay. The limited
information available suggests that increased human activity in the
Bay may have been responsible, at least in part, for the observed
shift in distribution. Increased human use of coastal waters is not
limited to Glacier Bay and the movement of humpbacks from Glacier Bay
to areas outside the Bay may be symptomatic of a larger problem.

The purposes of this meeting were: (1) to review available information
concerning the nature and possible causes of the movement of whales
from Glacier Bay; (2) to review present and planned research and
management actions relating to humpback whales in Glacier Bay and
southeast Alaska; and (3) to identify additional research or
management actions that may be necessary to conserve and protect the
North Pacific population(s) of humpback whales.

The meeting was held on the 12th and 13th of October 1979, at the
College of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle. The meeting
agenda is included as Appendix A. Individuals who made formal
presentations at the meeting are identified on the agenda. A list of
the meeting attendees, their organizations, addresses, and telephone
numbers are listed in Appendix B.


=Distribution and Abundance of Humpback Whales in the North

Humpback whales are seasonal migrants found in all of the world's
oceans. In the North Pacific, humpback whales winter in tropical
regions over the shallow coastal shelfs associated with the Hawaiian
Islands, Baja California, central Mexico, the Ryukyu Islands, Bonin
Islands, and Mariana Islands. They summer in cold temperate regions,
also over shallow coastal shelfs, from Point Conception, California,
north through Alaska, west through the Aleutians, and south to Honshu
Island, Japan. Calving and probably breeding occur on the wintering
grounds. Feeding is believed to occur primarily in the summering

In Alaska, humpback whales are known to inhabit Prince William Sound,
the waters of the Alexander Archipelago, and the waters adjacent to
Kodiak Island and the Aleutians. Some whales may also overwinter in
the northern summering areas.

The distribution, movements, abundance, and habitat requirements of
humpback whales are not well known. Based upon Japanese catch
statistics, the pre-exploitation population of humpback whales in the
North Pacific is estimated to have been approximately 15,000. Much of
the exploitation of humpback whales occurred in the twentieth century,
especially during the early 1960's. A small number of whaling stations
established in southeast Alaska took humpbacks between 1907 and 1922.
In 1966, the International Whaling Commission imposed a worldwide ban
on the taking of humpback whales.

The present population of humpback whales in the North Pacific is
estimated to be about 1,000 animals. The number occurring in tropical
waters during the winter is thought to be about 600-700 in Hawaii,
200-300 in Mexican waters, and a "few whales" in the western North
Pacific. More than 100 individual whales have been identified in
the inland waters of southeast Alaska during the summer. Tagging
experiments with Discovery Marks indicate movement between
the Aleutian Islands and the Western North Pacific; recent
photo-identification studies have shown movement from Southeast Alaska
to both the Hawaiian Islands and Baja (and southern coastal) Mexico.
There is no substantive evidence to indicate whether the number of
humpback whales, on either summer or winter grounds, in the North
Pacific is increasing or decreasing.

    [Footnote 1: This summary is based on information provided at
      the meeting by Drs. Michael Tillman and Louis Herman.]

    [Illustration: FIGURE 1. (from Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979)]
      Map showing location of Glacier Bay, Lynn Canal and
      Fredrick Hole in Southeast Alaska Alexander Archipelago

    [Illustration: FIGURE 2. NOS Chart 17300]
      Soundings in Fathoms Scale 1:209,978

    [Illustration: Figure 3. GLACIER BAY, ALASKA]
      (from Hale and Wright, 1979)

=Glacier Bay=[2]

Glacier Bay is located near the north end of the Alexander Archipelago
(Figures 1 and 2). The Bay opens into Cross Sound and Icy Strait of
the Inside Passage of southeast Alaska. When Vancouver discovered the
area in 1780, glacial ice filled the Bay to its mouth (Figure 3). In
1891, when the Bay was first mapped, Muir Inlet was still filled with
ice. Today the ice has retreated up the right (Muir Inlet) arm of the
"Y" shaped Bay to tide-water levels. Recently, glacial ice has started
to readvance in the upper reaches of the west inlets of the Bay.

The Bay is defined by shallow sills at its entrance and the entrance
to Muir Inlet. Constricted channels in which tidal currents are
locally strong occur between sediment covered shores in the lower end
of the Bay and the east (Muir) inlet. Deep, unconstricted bedrock
channels and basins with weak currents occur in mid-Bay and the west
inlet. These features and the configuration of the bay produce a tidal
range of 8 meters. There is reduced mixing of waters within the Bay
and between the Bay and Cross Sound/Icy Strait. Annual precipitation
up to 4 meters, coupled with glacial melt water, create a surface
layer and flow of cold fresh water out of the Bay. Strong flood tides
push sea water into the Bay over the sills. The dynamics of the flow
may effect the behavior and timing of the movement of whales into (on
flood tides) and out of (on ebb tides) the Bay (see below).

During the winter, an increase in sea water flow and mixing occur.
Increased nutrient levels and sunlight in spring/summer provide
sufficient nutrients and energy for phytoplankton "blooms" to occur.
In turn, zooplankters appear, especially in the open areas of mid and
lower Bay (e.g., euphausiids) and along glacial ice faces (e.g.,
mysids and amphipods). By autumn, plankton concentrations diminish as
light and nutrient levels decrease. Small schooling fish, (e.g.,
capelin, _Mallotus villosus_ and Pacific sand lance, _Ammodytes
hexapterus_), feed on the plankton when it becomes available. Both
fish and plankton are consumed by humpback whales as well as by other
predators. Other marine mammal species reported in the Bay are harbor
seals (_Phoca vitulina_), harbor porpoise (_Phocoena phocoena_),
killer whales (_Orcinus orca_), and minke whales (_Balaenoptera

    [Footnote 2: This summary is based on information provided at
      the meeting by Mr. Gregory Streveler.]

=Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay=[3]

The distribution in and use of Glacier Bay by humpback whales was not
well known until Charles and Virginia Jurasz began observations in
1973. Prior to this, only personal recollections of Park Service
employees of the occurrence of humpback whales in the 1950's and the
1960's exist. In 1967, 60 identifiable humpback whales were observed
in three southeast Alaskan areas, i.e., Lynn Canal, Frederick Sound,
and Glacier Bay. The number of identifiable whales remained relatively
constant until 1974 in Lynn Canal, and 1978 (July 17) in Glacier Bay
(Tables 1-3). In the respective areas, the number of identified whales
decreased from 15 and 19 to 1 and 3, respectively. Concurrently, the
number of identified whales sighted in Frederick Sound increased.

 TABLE 1. Relative abundance and distribution of identified humpback
          whales in southeast Alaskan waters 1967-79[a]

 Year        67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78       79

 Glacier Bay 20  20  20  20  20  20  25  25  25  25  25  19/3[b]   3

 Lynn Canal  15  15  15  15  15  15  15   1   3   3   3  1/5       5

 Frederick   25  25  25  25  25  25  25  35  40  40  40  40/50    80

 Total       60  60  60  60  60  60  65  61  68  68  68  60/58    88

    [Footnote a: Specific dates of censuses, sighting techniques and
    sighting effort not given. Based on a table presented by the
    Juraszs at the meeting.]

    [Footnote b: First number signifies number originally counted at
      beginning of season/second number after decrease in number of
      whales in Glacier Bay and increase in other areas. The
      identified whales that left Glacier Bay are not necessarily the
      same individuals that produced the increased numbers in Lynn
      Canal and Frederick Sound later.]

 TABLE 2. Number of humpback whales (individual census) entering
          Glacier Bay during "influxes".
          (modified from Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979)

 Year                          1976      1977      1978

 First Influx                     9         7         7

 Second Influx                   11        17        16

 Seasonal Maximum                20        24        23

 TABLE 3. Age composition of humpback whales per year in Glacier Bay
         (modified from Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979)

 YEAR                          1976      1977      1978

 NO. OF CALVES                    1         2         4

 NO. OF IDENTIFIED ADULTS        14        14        18

 NO. OF JUVENILES                           6         1

 TOTAL NO. OF ADULTS             19        19        18

Identifiable humpback whales were sighted in Glacier Bay each year,
1976-1977, for a six to twelve week period. In 1978, all but three
whales departed the Bay after 16 days. In the summers of 1976-1978 two
influxes of whales occurred (Table 2). The Juraszs' define an influx
of whales as those whales that enter and remain in the Bay for a
minimum of three weeks. The second influx arrived 7-14 days after
extreme low tides occurred in late June-early July and presumably
moved into the Bay on flood tides. In 1979, a single influx comprised
of 3 whales entered the Bay. The age composition of identified whales
using Glacier Bay was categorized by the Juraszs' for 1976-1978 (Table

During the period spent in the Bay, humpback whales have been observed
to feed on capelin, euphausiids (_Euphausia pacifica_), and pandalid
shrimp (_Pandulus borealis_). There appear to be three generalized
feeding relationships: 1) early-season feeding on shrimp in the upper
Bay; 2) mid-season feeding by concentrations of whales on capelin in
the lower Bay; and 3) late-season feeding (around August 5) by
concentrations of whales on euphausiids in mid-Bay.

Behaviorally, humpback whales appear to lunge up through concentrated
schools of prey during mid-season and use "bubble-netting" as a means
of concentrating less dense and/or numerically fewer prey earlier and
later in the season. In other areas of southeast Alaska, humpbacks are
reported to also feed on herring (_Clupea harengus pallasi_), shrimp,
and possibly other small schooling (swarming) prey. The Juraszs'
believe that humpbacks establish feeding territories in the Bay, and
have described eight "stress behaviors" associated with violations of
those territories (Table 4). The data collected by the Juraszs are
extensive (including human use of Glacier Bay) but have not yet been
completely analyzed.

    [Footnote 3: This summary is based on information provided at
      the meeting by Charles and Virginia Jurasz.]

=Human Use of Glacier Bay=[4]

John Muir popularized Glacier Bay, leading to tourist activity into
the early 1900's, when loose ice resulting from earthquake activity
prevented cruise vessels from operating within the Bay. Glacier Bay
was designated a National Monument February 26, 1925, the area being
added to April 18, 1939.

Vessel and tourist numbers remained low until the late 1960's-early
1970's. Close to 100 percent of the visitors to the Bay use vessels,
either entering the Bay aboard them or making use of them to tour the
Bay after arriving by aircraft. The Juraszs' developed a
classification scheme for vessels and aircraft based upon activities
of the craft in the Bay, their size, hull design, and engine
characteristics (Table 5).

 TABLE 4. Juraszs' description of "stress behavior" (Progressing from
          the least "stressful" to the most "stressful")
          (modified from Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979.)

 Mode              Description

 Vocalization     Bellowing or trumpeting noise produced by a whale
                  and heard above and below the water. Emanates from
                  the blowhole at the time of the expiration.

 Bubbling          Premature or underwater release of breath in a
                   straight line or as a single "belch" allowing the
                   whale to avoid having a visible blow.  Bubbles
                   released usually 2-3 m below the water's surface.

 Finning           Flipper slapping; the striking of the water's
                   surface with the pectoral fins.

 Tail Lobbing      Raising the flukes well out of the water and
                   crashing or slapping them back flat against the
                   water's surface producing a loud sound.

 Tail Rake         A subset of the tail lobbing is the rake in which
                   the flukes are raked laterally across the water's

 Half or Full      A leap from the water in which a portion of the
 Bodied Breach     whale's body emerges from the water only to reenter
                   with a large splash.

 Avoidance         The temporary leaving of an area or a change in the
                   direction of travel.

 Abandonment       Leaving an area prematurely and not being seen
                   again for at least one season in that area.

 TABLE 5. Juraszs' vessel/aircraft classes
          (after Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979)


 Class 1       Touring Vessel Over 10k Tons

 Class 2       Touring Vessel   5k-10k tons

 Class 3       Commercial Fishing/Crabbing

 Class 4       Charter & Pleasure

 Class 5       Cabined High RPM Outdrive Units

 Class 6       Sailboat Using Aux. Power

 Class 7       Utility Craft, Outboard Engine

 Class 8       Kayak, Sailboat (no engines)

 Class 9       Aircraft, Fixed

 Class 10      Aircraft, Rotor

 Class 11      Aircraft, Jet

 Class 12      Hydrofoil

 Class 13      Another Humpback

 Class 14      Killer whales

 Class 15      Minke Whales

 Class 16      R/V GINJUR (Juraszs' research vessel)

 Class 17      Wake Only

The increase in visitors and vessels to Glacier Bay is presented in
Tables 6-8. (Data included in Table 6 cannot be compared to data
presented in Table 7 because of difference in methods of data
collection, sample area, time, effort, etc.)

Commercial fishing vessel activity in the Bay was probably low until
the 1970's. Since 1972 (it is not known whether data are available
prior to 1972) commercial fishing vessel visits have fluctuated
(Figure 4), but fishing activity has been greatest during the summer
months (Figure 5). Sport fishing visits have increased during the same
time period (Figure 6).

    [Footnote 4: This summary is based on information presented at
      the meeting by Mr. John Chapman and Charles and Virginia


The meeting participants agreed that the observed decrease in the
number of whales in Lynn Canal in 1974 and Glacier Bay in 1978 may be
attributable to a number or combination of factors. Available evidence
suggests human activity was at least one of the causes, or served to
trigger otherwise "natural events". In Lynn Canal, humpback whales
were known to feed on herring (_Clupea harengus pallasi_). In 1974,
the year a herring fishery began, the number of humpback whales
dropped to one (Table 1). Between 1974 and 1978 fishing continued.
There was no fishing in 1979.

Use of the Canal by Class 5 vessels (cabin cruisers with high RPM
outdrive units) increased by 15-20 percent each year after 1970
(Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979, p. 85). Three humpback whales were seen in
Lynn Canal during the 1975-1977 seasons, the number increasing to five
in 1978-1979. The relationship between vessel activity, fishing
effort, fish take, fish abundance, and the presence and activity of
whales in Lynn Canal does not appear to be documented.

In Glacier Bay, increased vessel traffic may be one of the factors
responsible for the movement of humpback whales from the Bay in 1978
and 1979. The Juraszs' data, while not evaluated fully, suggest that
there has been a general increase in avoidance by humpback whales of
Class 1 through 5 vessels over the three year period, 1976-1978.

TABLE 6. Number of visitors and vessels to Glacier
           Bay National Monument.[a]

                                  Cruise Ships    Private Vessels
                                  Juraszs'        (incomplete count)
 Year Visitation  Increase        Classes 1-2     Juraszs' Classes 4-8

 1965     1,800

 1969    16,000   789% over 1965                          450

 1970    29,700    86% over 1969

 1972                                  33

 1978   109,500   269% over 1970      123                1800
                  584% over 1969

 1979                                 123

    [Footnote a: Based on a table and information provided at the
      meeting by Mr. John Chapman, National Park Service.
      (Modified by adding Juraszs' classes of vessels.)]

 TABLE 7. Number of vessel sightings per month in each class as seen
          from the Juraszs' R/V GINJUR. (from Jurasz and Jurasz, 1979)

               1977                           1978
        ----------------------------   -------------------------------
 Class   June   July   August  TOTAL    June   July   August   TOTAL

  1       20     22     11      53      17     25      8       50

  3       67     18      6      91      62     31      64     157

  4       37     42     30     109      29    125      64     218

  5       38     45     17     100      27     61      24     112

  6        3     14      0      17       0     29      19      48

  7        6      4      6      16       8      4       5      17

  8        7      2      7      16       2     12       3      17

 12                                             4       3       7

 TABLE 8. Average vessel sightings per day in each class as seen from
          the Juraszs' R/V GINJUR. (Modified from Jurasz and
          Jurasz, 1979)

 Vessel                          Percent       Percent
 Class       1977      1978      Decrease      Increase

 1           3.90      3.20       18%

 3           5.74     13.47                    135%

 4           8.38     16.87                    101%

 5           6.93      8.19                     18%

 6           1.11      3.99                    259%

 7           1.21      1.38                     14%

 8           1.24      1.18         5%

                          GLACIER BAY (from Hale and Wright, 1979)]

                          (from Hale and Wright, 1979)]

              J    F    M    A    M    J    J    A    S    O    N    D


  King        L    L    L    L    M    H    H    H    M    L    L    L

  Red                             L    M    M    M    L

  Coho                                 H    H    H    H

  Pink                            L    H    H    H    M

  Chum                            L    H    H    M    M

 =HALIBUT=    |---------------------|


  Tanner     ------------------|                             |--------

  King       -------|                                 |---------------

  Dungeness                           |----------------|

  |---------| commercial fishing occurs
     L           Low level
       M           Medium level
         H           High level

                         BOAT VISITS TO GLACIER BAY 1970-1977
                         (from Hale and Wright, 1979)]

Natural changes in the environment and/or in the behavior of whales
have occurred concurrently with increased human/vessel activity in
Glacier Bay. Such natural changes include spatial and temporal trends
or cycles in the physical (temperature, tides, currents, turbidity,
etc.), chemical (salinity, dissolved gases, inorganic/organic
substances--nutrients, etc.) or biological (primary productivity,
zooplankton, nekton, benthic species, predators, etc.) properties or
characteristics of the waters within and outside the Bay. Temporal
and/or spatial differences in relative abundance of three different
prey species within and outside the Bay may have occurred and been
responsible, at least in part, for the movement of humpbacks from
Glacier Bay. At this time, data are inadequate to relate the movement
of humpback whales from Glacier Bay in 1978 and 1979 to physical,
chemical, or biological factors. Meeting participants felt that
physical and chemical factors were unlikely to have changed
sufficiently between 1976 and 1978 to affect humpback whales, while
biological factors, perhaps as a result of physio-chemical changes,
could have changed sufficiently to have caused or contributed to the

Human activity may have caused changes in the physical, chemical, or
biological environment, effecting humpbacks directly or indirectly.
Human and vessel activities may have occurred such that the space
(vertical and/or horizontal) available to whales for normal activities
was less than that necessary (below some threshold level or value).
"Too many" vessels may have transited an area and/or approached whales
"too closely" for "too long" a period of time, producing visual,
acoustic, tactile, chemical, or other as yet unknown stimuli at levels
or values (magnitude, intensity, duration, frequency, interval, etc.)
greater than the whales would tolerate. The physical-acoustic
environment may have changed as a result of sounds produced by
vessels. Vessel sounds may be modified, amplified, intensified, etc.,
as a result of the geological/topographical features of Glacier Bay
(and perhaps Lynn Canal as well). Direct interference with the whales'
own sounds may have occurred or "environmental" sound levels may have
exceeded certain thresholds. Basic data on the acoustic properties and
characteristics of Glacier Bay with and in the absence of vessels are

Changes in water quality may have occurred through pollution. Data are
insufficient to document the past or present levels of pollution, but
they were thought by meeting participants to be relatively low.

Changes in the biological environment induced by human activity may be
contributory to the movement of whales. Movement from Lynn Canal may
have resulted from direct competition for the same resource at the
same time, by depletion of the resource below levels sufficient to
support humpbacks or as a result of noise or the presence of fishing
vessels. Fishing activity or overharvesting (depletion of resource) of
other species at other trophic levels may indirectly impact humpbacks
through the food web/chains. There are insufficient data to prove or
disprove such hypotheses at this time.

In summary, a best interpretation of the available data is that
uncontrolled increase of vessel traffic, particularly of erratic
charter/pleasure craft, may have adversely altered the behavior of
humpback whales in Glacier Bay and thus may be implicated in their
departure from the Bay the past two years. The causal mechanism of
this adverse reaction to increased vessel traffic remains unknown. The
effects of increasing vessel traffic apparently are exacerbated by the
narrow physical confines of Glacier Bay. This analysis is not
clear-cut, however, and may be confounded, at least in 1979, by
possible shifts in the occurrence and availability of preferred prey
species of humpback whales.

    [Footnote 5: This summary is based on information presented at
      the meeting and resulting discussions.]


In the Background and Possible Cause and Effect sections it
was stated that insufficient data exist to indicate cause and effect
relationships. Data are not sufficient in many areas, e.g.:

    1) environmental baseline data (biological, chemical, and
       physical) are inadequate;

    2) data available (i.e., Juraszs') have not been analyzed fully;

    3) changes in human use of areas are not adequately quantified
       (e.g., for fishing, cruising, touring, pleasure boating); and

    4) data on the acoustic characteristics of Glacier Bay or the
       vessels occurring in the Bay are not available.


The National Park Service (NPS) is responsible for managing and
overseeing the use of Glacier Bay National Monument in support of the
objectives defined for the Service, when it was established in 1916;
an excerpt from the Act creating the Service in 1916 states that the
purpose of the Service is:

    "To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects
    and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the
    same in such manner and by such means as will leave them
    unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

The intent in establishing the Monument is defined in the
Proclamations of 1925 and 1939, sections of which are excerpted and
presented below.

    "Whereas, there are around Glacier Bay ... a number of
    tide-water glaciers of the first rank in a magnificent setting
    of lofty peaks, and more accessible to ordinary travel than any
    similar regions of Alaska,

    "And, Whereas, the region is said by the Ecological Society of
    America to contain a great variety of forest covering consisting
    of mature areas, bodies of youthful trees which have become
    established since the retreat of the ice which should be
    preserved in absolutely natural condition, and great stretches
    now bare that will become forested in the course of the next

    "And, Whereas, this area presents a unique opportunity for the
    scientific study of glacial behavior and of resulting movements
    and development of flora and fauna and of certain valuable
    relics of ancient interglacial forests." (Proclamation
    establishing Glacier Bay National Monument, February 26, 1925.)

    "Whereas, it appears that certain public lands, part of which
    are within the Tongass National Forest ... have situated thereon
    glaciers and geologic features of scientific interest; and

    "Whereas, a portion of the aforesaid public lands ... are
    necessary for the proper care, management, and protection of the
    objects of scientific interest situated on the lands...."
    (Proclamation of April 18, 1939, adding lands to the Monument.)

The management plans developed by the National Park Service for the
Glacier Bay National Monument did not anticipate, and apparently have
not been adequate to deal with, the increased visitor and vessel
traffic and their use of the marine environment in the 1970's. Title
36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, under which the National Park
Service operates, contains a section requiring any commercial business
conducted or operating within the boundaries of Service area to have a
permit issued by the Service. The cruise ship industry companies have
not as yet been placed under a permit system. However, it is the
intent of the Service to establish a regular system in the future. All
other commercial ventures operating on lands and waters of the
Monument are under contract or permit. Fishing vessel activity is
unregulated although the take of Pacific halibut, (_Hippoglossus
stenolepis_) is regulated by the International Pacific Halibut
Commission, and the take of salmon and other finfish and shellfish is
regulated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). The need
for additional resource/use plans and regulatory programs is
recognized by the National Park Service.

The NPS funded field studies of humpback whales by the Juraszs in
1976-1979, analysis of some of the Juraszs' data, and Hale's and
Rice's (of the NPS Alaska area office) report, "The Glacier Bay Marine
Ecosystem--A Conceptual, Ecological Model" completed in April 1979.

The movement of humpback whales in 1978 from Glacier Bay to
surrounding waters and the suggestion by the Juraszs' field
observations, that there may be a cause and effect relationship
between vessel activity and the whales' movement, led the NPS to
restrict some vessel activities in the 1979 season, and to seek
Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations with the National
Marine Fisheries Service in August 1979. The Section 7 consultations
were not completed at the beginning of the meeting. Based in part upon
NMFS's recommendations, the NPS will consider various future
management alternatives. Restrictions imposed in 1979 were temporary
(emergency closure authority under Title 36 C.F.R.). Any regulations
imposed for 1980 cannot be under emergency closure authority (unless
an emergency does arise which was unforeseen in setting up regulatory
systems). Regulations which can be foreseen at this time as being
necessary would have to proceed through the normal Federal Register
publication process. Enforcement of all Federal laws and regulations
within Glacier Bay is considered to be the responsibility of the NPS.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has overall
responsibility, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, for
the conservation and protection of all whales including humpback
whales. The National Marine Fisheries Service in cooperation with the
Juraszs has conducted censuses of humpback whales in southeast Alaskan
waters in 1975 and 1976, used radio tags to follow individual whales
in Alaskan waters in 1976-78, maintains a catalogue of humpback
whale photographs and has developed a computerized retrieval
photo-identification system. No research was conducted by NMFS in
1979. NMFS enforcement of laws and regulations is conducted by a few
people responsible for large areas in southeast Alaska. A contract
with the State of Alaska until August 1, 1979, provided a broader
presence of enforcement personnel. That contract was not renewed. The
NMFS is now fully responsible for enforcement activities relating to
humpback whales except in areas such as Glacier Bay where the
responsibility is shared.

    [Footnote 6: This summary is based on information presented at
      the meeting by National Park Service and National Marine
      Fisheries Service Personnel.]


Based on available information, vessel activity may have been a factor
contributing to the movement of whales from Glacier Bay in 1978 and
1979. Alternatives available to manage vessel traffic (assuming
increased traffic has had or will have an adverse effect on humpback
whales) include:

  1. Total closure of Glacier Bay to all vessels.

  2. Closure to all vessels during the whale season.

  3. Closure to all vessels during part of the whale season.

  4. Total closure to all but certain classes of vessels--e.g.,
      cruise vessels
      charter vessels
      fishing vessels

  5. Seasonal closure to all but certain classes of
        cruise vessels
        charter vessels
        fishing vessels

  6. Partial season closure to all but certain classes of
        cruise vessels
        charter vessels
        fishing vessels

  7. Alternatives 4, 5, or 6 with limitations on total numbers of
     vessels of various classes given access

  8. Alternatives 4, 5, 6 or 7 with restrictions applying only to
    certain areas of the Bay

  9. Establishment of a ceiling for all vessels or certain classes of
    vessels during all or part of the whale season

 10. No restrictions on access but certain activities prohibited or
     limited to certain areas or vessel classes--e.g.:  establish
     traffic lanes and permit "deliberate" whale-watching only by a
     few trained and licensed charter-boat operators.

 11. No restrictions.


Factors that should be considered in making research/management
decisions include (1) that the humpback whale is an endangered
species; (2) that there are statutory requirements to protect the
whales and their habitats; (3) that the cause of the present problem
is uncertain; (4) that the purpose of the Monument is to provide for
educational, recreational, and scientific experiences; and (5) that
limiting access or restricting or closing the Monument to some or all
vessel activity could affect commercial and private enterprises,
including fishing.

Additionally, there are a number of types and possible consequences of
decision errors that should also be considered--e.g.,

 1. If Glacier Bay is a critical habitat, and if the movement of
    humpbacks is in response to whale watching vessels, pleasure
    boats, cruise vessels, etc., and if the movement is or will be
    irreversible; then the humpback whale population will be adversely
    impacted (e.g., carrying capacity reduced) if no action is taken.

 2. If Glacier Bay is not a critical habitat, and if movement is due
    to whale watching vessels, etc., and it is or will be irreversible;
    then only the quality of visitor experience/value of monument is
    decreased if no action is taken. The impact on the population of
    humpbacks is not critical so long as suitable habitat is available
    elsewhere. However, the NPS mandate established in the 1916 Act
    still would not be fulfilled.

 3. If all, or a specific type of, vessel traffic is prohibited or
    regulated, and the movement from the Bay is not caused, directly
    or indirectly by such traffic; then there will be decreased
    opportunity for human activity within the Bay, and increased
    economic impacts on fishermen and commercial operators that may
    have been unnecessarily restricted.

The optimal short-term research/management strategy would minimize the
risks associated with the kinds of errors discussed above, and include
actions such as the following:

 1) by early 1980, compile and complete the analysis and evaluation of
    all existing and relevant data;

 2) based upon the evaluation of the best available data, promulgate
    temporary (one season) whale watching regulations and/or restrict
    access by all or certain classes of vessels or the number,
    frequency, or duration of visits of all or certain classes of
    vessels to certain areas at certain times of the year, as may be

 3) continue and, if appropriate expand, surveys of whale/vessel
    numbers, distribution, movements, behavior and interactions in and
    outside Glacier Bay;

 4) identify and initiate additional research that is needed to
    identify and mitigate the cause or causes of the observed humpback
    whale movement from the Bay, e.g.,

    a. characterize the acoustical environment of Glacier Bay and
       other areas in which humpbacks occur;

    b. characterize the sounds generated by various classes of vessels
       and aircraft;

    c. design and conduct sound playback experiments to test hypotheses
       concerning the possible effects of vessel activities on humpback
       whale movements and behavior; and

    d. assess and monitor the physical, chemical, and biological
       characteristics of Glacier Bay, especially the distribution and
       abundance of prey species upon which humpback whales feed.

The optimal long-range research/management strategy would include:

 1) the development and implementation of a humpback whale recovery
    plan to include humpback whales in all of Glacier Bay, all of
    southeast Alaska and the North Pacific in general, including: the
    identification, designation and protection of critical humpback
    whale habitat;

 2) the development of a universal and/or site-specific definition
    of "harassment" to apply to humpback whales in Glacier Bay,
    southeast Alaska and the North Pacific in general;

 3) the development and implementation of a long-range
    research/management plan for the Monument including whale and
    environmental monitoring;

 4) a determination as to the direct and indirect effects of
    incidental take, whale watching, fishing activity, etc. on humpback
    whales in Glacier Bay, Southeast Alaska and the North Pacific in
    general; and

 5) a determination as to the long-term cumulative impacts of the
    degradation and destruction of habitat on the survival of the
    humpback whale throughout its range in the North Pacific.


There are many individuals, groups and organizations interested or
involved in finding solutions to problems associated with humpback
whales and human activities in Glacier Bay. The need for management
planning and research programs has been identified. The
identification of interested and responsible organizations is
necessary so that cooperative, coordinated planning and research can
occur. Hopefully, by developing such plans or projects, minimum
resources will be expended to obtain satisfactory solutions. In
addition, by involving all interested and responsible individuals,
groups, or organizations at an early stage, cooperative efforts can be
maximized and disagreements identified and minimized.

The prime responsibilities of the National Marine Fisheries Service
and the National Park Service have been identified. Other Federal
agencies that should or might profitably be involved include the
Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Coastal Zone Management, Sea
Grant, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey,
the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the
Army Corps of Engineers. State agencies that should or might be
profitably involved include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game,
the State Coastal Zone Management Commission, and the Alaska
Department of Natural Resources. Commercial and recreational companies
that organize fishing, tour, and charter activities, private boaters,
academic/scientific communities, and environmental organizations are
also important. Some of these organizations have on-going, or plan to
initiate, research projects, which may provide data and information of
importance to the problems discussed in this report.

The Bureau of Land Management, New York Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)
Office, is presently initiating noise effects studies on marine
mammals. The U.S. Geological Survey at Tacoma, Washington and Menlo
Park, California is describing and mapping marine sediment
distribution, thickness and characteristics within Glacier Bay. J. P.
Mathews, of the Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska, is
summarizing the physical characteristics, especially water mass
characteristics and dynamics, of Glacier Bay. If possible, these
studies should be coordinated such that a maximum amount of
information can be obtained and used in the management and research
activities related to Glacier Bay National Monument and the humpback


Humpback whales in the North Pacific are migratory, spending the
summer months in northern waters including the inland waters of
southeast Alaska. Records have been maintained on the number of
identifiable humpbacks seen in these waters including Glacier Bay. In
1978, humpbacks departed Glacier Bay after being "in residence" for a
far shorter time period than recorded previously; all but three whales
left the Bay within 24 hours of entering in 1979.

There has been an increase in vessel traffic and activity within
Glacier Bay during the 1970's. Such activity may have been a factor in
the movement of humpbacks from Glacier Bay. Other factors which may
have been at least contributing but for which no known information
exists, or is inadequate at best, include: natural environmental
changes (chemical, physical, biological) or natural changes in the
movement of the whales.

Present management and research plans and activities did not
anticipate and, therefore, are inadequate to deal effectively with
present day problems associated with a rapidly growing influx of
people and vessels/aircraft into any environment with limited space
and resources. Some human activities and the activities and behavioral
patterns of humpback whales may be mutually exclusive.

The most apparent important short-term research need is to analyze and
evaluate all available data, in order to develop short and long term
management plans and research programs.


 Hale, L. Z. and R. G. Wright, 1979. The Glacier Bay Marine
   Ecosystem. A Conceptual Ecological Model. U.S. Department of the
   Interior, NPS, Anchorage Office. 177 pp.

 Jurasz, C.M. and V. Jurasz. 1979. Ecology of Humpback Whales. Draft
   final report to the National Park Service.



 Meeting to Review Information and Actions
 Concerning Humpback Whales in
 Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska
 12-13 October 1979
 Room 208, College of Fisheries
 University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

 =12 October 1979=

 9:00    Discussion of meeting objectives, agenda, and procedures
         (Dr. Robert Hofman, Marine Mammal Commission)

 9:15    Overview of available information on the distribution,
         abundance, and habitat requirements of humpback whales in the
         North Pacific (presentation by Dr. Michael Tillman, National
         Marine Fisheries Service)

 9:30    Physical/chemical characterization and history of Glacier
         Bay (presentation by Mr. Gregory Streveler, Glacier Bay
         National Monument)
           a.   location, dimensions, geomorphology
           b.   geologic history and structure of the basin
           c.   glaciology
           d.   current patterns
           e.   water characteristics (temperature, salinity,
           f.   climate

 10:00   Review of available information concerning the past and
         present utilization of Glacier Bay by humpback whales
         (presentation by Mr. Charles Jurasz)
           a.  historical distribution, movement, and abundance
           b.  present distribution, movement, abundance, and

 10:30   Coffee Break

 10:45   Review of information concerning the past and present human
         use and its possible effects on Glacier Bay (presentation by
        Mr. John Chapman)

 11:15   Possible reasons for observed changes in utilization of Glacier
         Bay by humpback whales (discussion led by Dr. Robert Hofman)

 12:15   Lunch

 1:30    Review of on-going and planned research and management
         activities in Glacier Bay and contiguous waters
           a.  1:30--National Park Service (presentation by Mr. Jim
               Larson and/or Mr. John Chapman)
           b.  1:50--National Marine Fisheries Service (presentation
               by Mr. Milsted Zahn and/or Dr. Michael Tillman)

 2:15    Identification of additional research/management actions, if
         any, needed to protect humpback whales in Glacier Bay, e.g.:
           a.  Research
               1.  Physical
                   i.  acoustic characteristics of the Bay
                   ii. water currents and tidal factors
               2.  Biological
                   i.  identification of whale food and its distribution
                       and abundance
                   ii.  additional whale behavior studies including
                        harassment indicators
               3.  Human Factors
                   i.  acoustic characteristics of vessels
           b.  Management
               1.  comprehensive monitoring of vessel use patterns
                   throughout the Bay
               2.  vessel routing, number, and speed controls
               3.  seasonal and/or area closures

 4:30    As possible, summarize and rank research and management
         activities not included in on-going or planned activities.

 5:00    Adjourn

 =13 October 1979=

 9:00    Continue discussion on ranking research and management
         activities not included in on-going or planned activities

 10:00   Coffee Break

 10:15   As possible, identify target initiation dates, target
         completion dates, optimal methods, time, money, personnel,
         logistic support, and equipment needed to initiate and complete
         ranked research and management projects

 11:45   Closing Remarks

 12:00   Adjourn



 Mr. James A. Blaisdell
 National Park Service
 Fourth & Pike Building, Room 601
 Seattle, Washington 98101
    FTS:  399-1355

 Mr. Rob Bosworth
 Institution for Marine Studies--HA-35
 University of Washington
 Seattle, Washington 98105

 Mr. John F. Chapman
 Glacier Bay National Monument
 P.O. Box 1089
 Juneau, Alaska 99802

 Dr. William C. Cummings
 Scripps Institution of Oceanography
 Marine Physical Laboratory (A005)
 La Jolla, California 92093
 Oceanographic Consultants
 5948 Eton Court
 San Diego, California 92122

 Dr. Frederick C. Dean
 Professor of Wildlife Management
 Cooperative Park Studies Unit
 Room 210, Irving Building
 University of Alaska
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99701

 Dr. Donald R. Field
 Regional Chief Scientist
 National Park Service
 Pacific Northwest Region
 Fourth & Pike Building, Room 601
 Seattle, Washington  98195
    FTS:  399-1355

 Mr. Robert Giersdorf
 Glacier Bay Lodge, Inc.
 Park Place Building, Suite 312
 Seattle, Washington 98101

 Dr. Louis Herman
 University of Hawaii, Kewalo Basin
 Marine Mammal Laboratory
 1129 Ala Moana
 Honolulu, Hawaii  96814

 Mr. Larry Hobbs
 Wildlife Biologist
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory
 Smithsonian Institution
 Washington, D.C.  20560

 Mr. Charles M. Jurasz
 Ms. Virginia Jurasz
 Sea Search
 P.O. Box 93
 Auke Bay, Alaska 99821

 Mr. James W. Larson
 Deputy Regional Chief Scientist
 National Park Service
 Alaska Area Office
 540 W. 5th Avenue
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501

 Mr. Paul A. Larson
 Chief Resource Management and
 Visitor Protection
 National Park Service
 Pacific Northwest Region
 Fourth & Pike Building, Room 601
 Seattle, Washington 98101
    FTS:  399-5670

 Mr. William Lawton
 National Marine Mammal Laboratory
 7600 Sand Point Way, N.W., Building 32
 Seattle, Washington  98115

 Dr. Jack W. Lentfer
 Alaska Department of Fish and Game
 210 Ferry Way
 Juneau, Alaska 99801

 Dr. Katherine Ralls
 Office of Zoological Research
 National Zoo
 Smithsonian Institution
 Washington, D.C.  20008

 Mr. Dale W. Rice
 National Marine Mammal Laboratory
 7600 Sand Point Way, N.E., Building 32
 Seattle, Washington 98115

 Mr. G. P. Streveler
 Research Biologist
 Glacier Bay National Monument
 Gustavus, Alaska 99826

 Mr. Steven L. Swartz
 1592 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard
 San Diego, California 92107

 Dr. Michael F. Tillman, Director
 National Marine Mammal Laboratory
 7600 Sand Point Way, N.E., Building 32
 Seattle, Washington 98115
    FTS:  399-4711

 Mr. Douglas G. Warnock
 Deputy Director Alaska Area
 National Park Service
 540 West 5th Avenue, Room 202
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501

 Mr. Roland H. Wauer
 Chief, Division of Natural Resources
 National Park Service
 1100 L Street, N.W.
 Washington, D.C.  20240

 Dr. A. R. Weisbrod
 Endangered Species Coordinator
 National Park Service
 1100 L Street, N.W.
 Washington, D.C.  20240

 Mr. Allen A. Wolman
 National Marine Mammal Laboratory
 7600 Sand Point Way, N.E., Building 32
 Seattle, Washington 98115

 Mr. Milsted C. Zahn
 Enforcement Division
 Alaska Regional Office
 National Marine Fisheries Service
 Box 1668
 Juneau, Alaska  99802


Data/Information and Research Needs Relative to Humpback Whales in
Glacier Bay and Elsewhere (these lists are examples and not
necessarily all inclusive).

 A.    Compilation and analyses of existing data (available data
       presently are not in a form that is optimally useful)

       I.   =Whales=

            a.  whale distribution and abundance in Glacier Bay and
                surrounding areas--by year, season, time of day, age,
                sex, weather (tide, rain, etc.), birds, boats (by total
                and by class), depth of water, distance from shore, prey
                species, effort,----

            b.  movements/habitat use patterns--home range,
                temporal/spatial distribution of sightings of
                individually recognizable animals--are there resident,
                migratory and/or transient animals in the Bay or
                surrounding waters--do individuals have seasonal, annual
                cycles as to when/where they occur

            c.  undisturbed ("normal"--baseline) whale behavior--by age,
                sex, group size, group composition, time of day, season,
                location (descriptive and quantitative)

                1.   resting dive times/breathing    a.  vocalization
                2.   traveling                           1.
                3.   feeding                             2.
                     i.  lunge-feeding                   3.
                    ii.  bubble net-feeding              "
                   iii.  other                       b.  tail lob
                                                     c.  raking
                                                     d.  finning
                                                     e.  breaching
                                                     f.  avoidance
                                                     g.  other

                4.  interaction with other whales/social organization
                    of whales

            d.  disturbed whale behavior--stimulus/response--behavior
                (as above) before, during and after an event--response
                distance (by age, sex, pre-event  activity, location,
                time between events, time of day, season, weather,
                etc.)--recovery time (by age, sex, etc.).

       II.  =Boat and Aircraft Traffic=

            a.  distribution and abundance in Glacier Bay and
                surrounding areas--by type (class), year, season,
                time of day, weather

            b.  movements/use patterns--by type, year, etc.

            c.  activities (behavior)--by type, year, etc.
                1.  whale watching
                2.  fishing (sport/commercial)

       III. =Habitat= (physical, chemical, biological environment--by
            year, season, etc.)

            a.  physical--water temperature, sediment load

            b.  chemical--salinity, oxygen content, inorganic nutrient,

            c.  biological
                1.  distribution and abundance of primary and secondary
                    prey species--by year, season, time of day
                2.  distribution, size, and species composition of fish
                    catch, including by-catch--by year and season
                3.  distribution and abundance of predators (killer
                    whales) and competitors other than man--by year,
                    season, time of day, etc.

 B.    Improve base line data

       I.  =Acoustic=

            a.  ambient noise levels--representative areas (in and
                outside Bay), seasons, time of day, weather and tide
                conditions, sea state

            b.  boat- and plane-related noise--representative types,
                representative areas (in and outside Bay), speed
                (prop rpm), season, time of day, sea state

       II.  =Whales=--in and outside the Bay

            a.  abundance

            b.  distribution

            c.  movements (habitat use pattern)

            d.  activity patterns

            e.  behavior vocalization

            f.  habitat requirement/areas of special significance

      III.  =Boats and Planes=--in and outside the Bay

            a.  abundance--by type, season, time of day

            b.  distribution--  "     "       "      "

            c.  movements--     "     "       "      "

            d.  activity in patterns  "       "      "

      IV.   =Habitat=

            a.  physical

            b.  chemical--pollutant levels

            c.  biological

                1.  distribution, abundance and dynamics of primary
                    and secondary prey species--in and outside the Bay

                2.  distribution, size and species composition of fish
                    catch--in and outside the Bay

                3.  distribution, abundance and movements of competing
                    and predatory species

 C.    Experiments to validate hypothesis concerning possible effects
       of various stimuli on whales--representative stimuli,
       representative whales (age, sex), representative
       activities/behaviors (resting, feeding, traveling, vocalizing,
       etc.), representative areas, seasons, times of day, weather and
       environmental conditions.

 D.    Long-term monitoring (at regular intervals)

         I.  =Environment= (physical, chemical)

        II.  =Whales= (distribution, abundance, movements, activity
             patterns, vocalization patterns, cow/calf ratios)

       III.  =Boat/Planes= (abundance, type, distribution, movements,

        IV.  =Prey species=

         V.  =Fish catch=


 [NOAA Letterhead--Cut off]
 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

 Washington, D.C.     20235

 DEC 3 1979                               F6:TRL

 Mr. John Chapman
 Glacier Bay National Monument
 National Park Service
 P.O. Box 1089
 Juneau, Alaska 99802

Dear Mr. Chapman:

This letter responds to your August 4, 1979, request for consultation
pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as
amended, relative to the population of the humpback whale in Glacier
Bay, Alaska.

Your problem statement of the same date outlines the basic issue of
human activity in Glacier Bay National Monument that might be
affecting humpback whales. Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
requires that each federal agency insure that its actions do not
jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in
the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of such
species. The consultation process requires our comment and opinion on
the problem.

Within this context, our response addresses those National Park
Service (NPS) actions controlling human activity that may, in turn,
affect the humpback whales within Glacier Bay.

=Biological Background=

In the North Pacific, the summer range of the humpback whale
encompasses the area from Bering Strait south to the Subarctic
Boundary (ca. 40° N lat) and extends in the east to about Point
Conception, California, and the Sanriku Coast of Honshu Island in the
west. Humpbacks range into shallow coastal waters more frequently than
do most other balaenopterids and regularly occur in sheltered inside
waters of Prince William Sound and the Alexander Archipelago of
southeastern Alaska.

The wintering grounds of humpbacks in the North Pacific are centered
in three areas: (1) the coast and adjacent islands of west-central
Mexico; (2) the main Hawaiian Islands; and (3) the Bonin, Ryukyu, and
Mariana Islands in the western North Pacific. Some humpbacks that
summer in southeastern Alaska are known to migrate to both the Mexican
and Hawaiian wintering grounds, although others are found in
southeastern Alaska during all months of the year.

Prior to the rise of modern whaling in the late 1800's, the world
population of humpback whales exceeded 100,000, mostly in the Southern
Hemisphere. The North Pacific population probably numbered roughly
15,000 at the turn of the century.

Whaling in southeastern Alaska began in 1907 with the establishment of
two land stations. The number of humpback whales at the start of this
earliest exploitation is unknown. Consistent catch records are
available only for 1912-1922, during which time 185 humpbacks were
taken, with a peak catch of 39 in 1916.

Since 1922, no whaling has been conducted in the territorial waters of
southeastern Alaska. However, the humpback whales of the inside waters
were exposed to additional exploitation as they migrated across the
high seas or through the coastal territorial waters of British
Columbia, Washington, California, and Baja California.

By 1966, when humpbacks were accorded complete legal protection by the
International Whaling Commission, the world population of the species
had been reduced to about 5,000. The North Pacific population now
numbers about 1,000, of which 600 or 700 winter in the Hawaiian
Islands, and 200 or 300 winter in Mexico. Only a few humpbacks have
been sighted on the western North Pacific wintering grounds in recent
years. Since 1966 no trends in abundance have been observed either for
the North Pacific population as a whole or on any of its wintering or
summering grounds, including southeastern Alaska.

Based upon aerial and vessel surveys, the population that spends the
summer in the inside waters of southeastern Alaska numbers at least
70. Photoidentification studies now underway tentatively reveal that
the population may exceed 100. Although it ranges throughout the area
from Sumner Strait northward, its main concentration areas are
Frederick Sound-Stephens Passage, where a minimum of 40 whales occurs,
and Glacier Bay, where 20-25 whales occur. Humpback whales congregate
in these areas to feed upon the summer blooms of euphausiids, herring,
and capelin. Some whales arrive in June and stay on through early
September, although as mentioned earlier, other animals appear to
remain through the winter months.

When humpback whales historically began occupying Glacier Bay is
unknown, but they have occurred there every summer over the past seven
years of investigation. Photoidentification techniques indicate that
certain individuals repeatedly return to feed there.

The availability of these and other feeding areas in southeastern
Alaska has not been constant over the years. Although Glacier Bay has
lately been a prominent feeding area, this was not always so since the
area was covered by an ice sheet during the 18th century; at that time
the humpback population was presumably at its maximum pre-exploitation
level. There is some indication that a seasonal feeding area in Lynn
Canal was avoided by humpbacks coincident with the onset of a herring
fishery in 1972. With the cessation of that fishery, humpbacks
reoccupied the area in 1979. The possibility cannot be discarded that
these events are related.

=Present Glacier Bay Situation=

The NPS records indicate that during 1976 and 1977, 20-24 individual
humpback whales moved into Glacier Bay during June and remained there
into August. In 1978 this pattern of use changed when most of the
animals departed by mid-July. In 1979 this use was modified further
with fewer whales entering the Bay and very few of those remaining in
the Bay. Observations prior to 1976 are more general in nature, rather
than numerical counts of record.

Human use of the Bay is reflected in NPS records, to wit:

           Visitor      Large    Private  Fishing
 Year      Days         Ships    Boats    Vessels
 ----      -------      -----    -------  -------
 1965        1,800
 1969       16,000               115
 1970       30,000               165
 1975       72,000      113      353      824
 1976       85,000      123      318      656
 1977      120,000      142      534      523
 1978      109,000      123      699      458

Most visitor use is via water access, with cruise ship and
recreational craft visitation levels increasing rapidly in recent

The recent NPS study indicates that increasing vessel traffic in
Glacier Bay may be implicated in the apparent departure of whales from
Glacier Bay in 1978 and 1979. Data on the number of observed
whale-vessel interactions in Glacier Bay enables calculation of the
following "interaction" index (data for 1979 not available):

         Whale-vessel     Hours         Index
 Year    Interactions     Observed      (interactions/hour)
 -----   ------------     --------      -------------------
 1976     98              261.1          0.38
 1977    201              407.1          0.49
 1978    268              397.5          0.67

Thus the occurrence of whale-vessel interactions increased 29 percent
and 76 percent respectively in 1977 and 1978 over the 1976 base level.
Despite mitigative regulations in 1979, observers noted that
whale-vessel interactions continued at substantial frequencies.

The NPS data indicate that behavior of the humpback whales in Glacier
Bay changed significantly in 1978. Comparison of the frequency
distributions of behavioral responses indicates that, whereas
distributions were the same in 1976 and 1977, both years were
statistically different from 1978. In 1978, more avoidance behavior
occurred than in previous years, suggesting that the whales reacted to
the increased level of vessel traffic in 1978. However, the causal
mechanism for these reactions (whether it be increased noise or visual
stimuli) remains unknown.

All classes of vessels were not implicated equally in the increased
level of interactions which occurred in 1978. Cruise ship visitations
actually decreased 14 percent in 1978 from the 1977 high, while
charter/pleasure craft visitations increased 120 percent between 1976
and 1978. Commercial fishing vessel traffic decreased 30 percent
between 1976 and 1978. Charter/pleasure craft were often observed to
change direction and travel toward whales for a closer look. Cruise
ships and commercial fishing vessels, on the other hand, neither
paused for nor actively followed whales. Thus the most likely source
for increased interaction would appear to be the increased visitations
by charter/pleasure craft in 1978.

This conclusion seems to agree with the perceptions of scientists
examining other similar situations. The workshop on problems related
to Hawaiian humpback whales, sponsored by the Marine Mammal Commission
in 1977, concluded that vessel traffic not oriented toward whales did
not ordinarily seem to disturb them. Indeed, it was concluded that
whales seem readily to habituate to constant or familiar noises such
as those produced by ships of passage. A recent review on the possible
effects of noises emanating from offshore oil and gas development
concluded that, unlike the abrupt response to sudden disturbances,
most whales become habituated to low-level background noises such as
would be associated with ship traffic (Geraci, J. R., and D. J. St.
Aubin, "Possible Effects of Offshore Oil and Gas Development on Marine
Mammals," prepared for the Marine Mammal Commission, August 1979.)
Moreover, it was noted that such behavior forms the underlying basis
for the success of whale watching cruises. Thus the erratic actions of
charter/pleasure craft rather than the more constant action of cruise
ships may be the major factor in possible harassment by vessels within
Glacier Bay.

Cruise ships also may be implicated as potential sources of
disturbance due to the physical setting within Glacier Bay. A direct
analogy may be seen in the lagoons of Baja California where gray
whales calve. Heavy barge and freighter traffic associated with the
salt industry, as well as a dredge operating continuously in the
lagoon's mouth, apparently drove gray whales out of Laguna Guerrero
Negro between 1957 and 1967. The whales reinvaded in substantial
numbers when vessel traffic was eliminated. The continued high use of
Laguna Ojo de Liebre by gray whales suggests that the movement of salt
barges, beginning there in 1967, may not have been such a nuisance.
However, since Laguna Ojo de Liebre is a much larger area than Laguna
Guerrero Negro and has a much wider entrance, the whales there may
simply have been able to move and coexist next to the barges. Such
luxury of space may not be available to the humpback whales of Glacier
Bay and, due to geological configurations of its basin, vessel noise
may be accentuated there. These factors may account for the unexpected
reaction of humpbacks to cruise ships in Glacier Bay.

The apparent departure of humpback whales from Glacier Bay in 1978 and
1979 may also be due in part to a change in the availability of food.
Euphausiids have historically been the primary feed within Glacier Bay
in July-August, although little research has been done to compare
yearly levels of this feed or to determine what level is necessary to
support the whales. The only available information derives from
vertical plankton tows by the REGINA MARIS in August 1979, which
indicated that fewer euphausiids (5 percent) occurred in Glacier Bay
as compared to Frederick Sound-Stephens Passage. The humpbacks may
have found the Glacier Bay food levels to be too low, particularly in
the face of continued high vessel use, and simply departed to search
for better concentrations elsewhere.

A similar abandonment of a prime feeding area, the Grand Banks, was
observed for the Northwest Atlantic humpback population and was
thought to be associated with the overfishing of capelin stocks there.
Consequently, the occurrence and distribution of humpback whales may
be generally dependent upon the occurrence and availability of its
desired prey species.

In a worst case analysis, Glacier Bay is a feeding ground, and its
long-term abandonment would not be conducive to the conservation of
the humpback whale. Up to 20 or 25 individual whales would relocate to
other areas, increasing competition for food there. In such case a
greater expenditure of energy might be required to obtain the same
quantities of food than would be required in Glacier Bay. An increased
energy expenditure would tend to decrease the likelihood of humpbacks
successfully increasing their numbers, since growth and the onset of
sexual maturity would be delayed.


Our present interpretation of the available data is that uncontrolled
increase of vessel traffic, particularly of erratically traveling
charter/pleasure craft, probably has altered the behavior of humpback
whales in Glacier Bay and thus may be implicated in their departure
from the Bay the past two years. Our conclusion, then, is that
continued increase in the amount of vessel traffic, particularly
charter/pleasure craft, in Glacier Bay is likely to jeopardize the
continued existence of the humpback whale population frequenting
Southeast Alaska. The alteration in the distribution of the whales in
Southeast Alaska can be expected to appreciably reduce the likelihood
of the recovery of the North Pacific humpback population, especially
when viewed as an incremental aggravation of the problem of
humpback/human interaction in general.


Until research reveals the need for more specific action, if any, we
offer the following as reasonable and prudent alternatives that the
NPS should institute in Glacier Bay to avoid jeopardizing the
continued existence of the North Pacific population of humpback

We recommend that total vessel use of the Bay be restricted to 1976
levels, at the very least, since that year preceeded the high point of
visitor use in Glacier Bay during 1977. Commercial use of the Bay is
predicated on a permit system that should offer good control and
accountability of the tour industry. The routing of large vessels is
relatively easy to regulate. Recreational craft present the greater
challenge to management control. The continuing increase in the amount
of recreational traffic in the Bay lends considerable urgency to
establishing effective controls.

Collectively, regulations should address vessel routing and vessel
maneuvering. The NPS has already regulated these activities to some
extent. Specific routes should be published, but the system should be
flexible enough to accommodate changes of areas of concentrated
feeding activity.

We further recommend curtailment of vessel operator discretion in
pursuing, or approaching, whales. General guidelines prohibiting the
pursuit or willful or persistent disturbance of whales through vessel
maneuvering probably would offer better enforceability and public
compliance than would detailed regulations based on specified
distances. Vessel operator behavior should receive a thorough public
educational effort, possibly through an informative notice to each

Finally, we recommend that monitoring of the humpback population and
of whale-vessel interactions be continued and that all current data be
fully analyzed. New research should also be undertaken (1) to
characterize the food and feeding behavior of humpback whales in
Glacier Bay and other areas; (2) to ascertain the acoustic
characteristics of vessels within the Bay and in other areas with the
aim of identifying equipment and/or modes of operation which are
inimical to the whales; and (3) to compare behavioral responses of the
humpbacks to vessels in Glacier Bay with those observed in other areas
of southeastern Alaska.

The conclusions and recommendations stated herein constitute our
biological opinion, and we consider consultation on this matter to be
at an end. Should significant new information or factors not
considered in this opinion arise, however, either we or NPS are
obligated to reinitiate consultation.

Sincerely yours,

 Terry L. Leitzell
 Assistant Administrator
 for Fisheries

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

The text herein presented is essentially that in the original report.
To preserve continuity, some text was moved to rejoin text which had
been split by Figures or Tables. Footnotes were moved to the end of
the section in which they occur. To help distinguish them from text
body footnotes, Table footnotes were changed from numbers to lower
alpha characters. Three typos were corrected (see below). In order to
present some of the tables in the allotted 70 character width, some of
the text was rearranged.

Emphasis Notation:

  _Text_ -- italicized

  =Text= -- underlined

The original report appears to have been a typewritten document and
species names were underlined instead of italicized as is usually the
case. Some other text is also underlined, the assumption was made that
the text would have been underlined (and/or bold).

Typographical Corrections

Page 11 (TABLE 4.): visable  => visible

Page 25 (Item 1.):  move-    => movement

Page 33 (3rd Item): Wildlive => Wildlife

       *       *       *       *       *

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