Copyright Whitehead Lab 2016

16 Feb Beaked Whale Resource: Summary of Threats

The following table presents a summary of the threats and information currently listed by the IUCN for each beaked whale species. Please refer to the IUCN website (http://www.iucnredlist.org/search) for the full listings.

 

Species/population/scientific nameIUCN statusGeographic locationsBycatch/entanglement/indirect or direct takesNoiseClimate changeAbundanceCommon?
Andrew's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini)Data deficientFew dozen stranding records between 32°S and 55°S; most of these have come from the South Pacific and Indian oceans (well over half are from New Zealand). Overall range may be circumpolar in the Southern Hemisphere, however, there is a gap in the known distribution between the Chatham Islands, east of New Zealand and the west coast of South America.Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely.UnknownUnknownNo estimateRelatively uncommon species.
Arnoux's Beaked Whale (Berardius arnuxii)Data deficientAntarctica to the North Pacific, Tasman Sea, Albatross Cordillera with strandings from New Zealand. Relatively abundant in the Cook Strait and concentrated south of New Zealand and South America.Large-mesh pelagic driftnets but adoptoin of UN resolution means levels are probably low. A few were taken for scientific studys.Probably outside major areas of impact.Cool-temperate to sub-Antarctic habitat may be affected.No estimateNot believed to be uncommon.
Baird's Beaked Whale (Berardius bairdii)Data deficientDeep oceanic waters of the North Pacific Ocean and the adjacent Japan, Okhotsk, and Bering Seas. Their range extends to the southern Gulf of California in the eastern Pacific, and to the island of Honshu, Japan in the western Pacific. Off the Pacific coast of Japan, they migrate into waters over the continental slope from May to October, but where they go in winter is not known.There are quotas of 8 for the Sea of Japan, 2 for the southern Okhotsk Sea and 52 for the Pacific coasts (Kasuya 2002). Incidental catches have been recorded, but are generally not common. Although the IWC does not control the annual quota, it is assumed that the present catch levels over a short period would not seriously affect the subpopulation, but research is needed to obtain information that will allow a full assessment of its status.UnknownUnknownThree subpopulations of Baird’s beaked whales are recognized in the western North Pacific (Sea of Japan, Okhotsk Sea, and Pacific Ocean), where these whales have been exploited for centuries. There are an estimated 1,100 Baird’s beaked whales in the eastern North Pacific, including about 228 (CV=51%) off the US west coast. Abundance in Japanese waters has been estimated at about 7,000 individuals (5,029 off the Pacific coast, 1,260 in the eastern Sea of Japan, and 660 for the southern Okhotsk Sea). These are likely underestimatesNot believed to be uncommon.
Blainville's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris)Data deficientTemperate and tropical waters of all oceans.Incidentally taken in the North Pacific by Taiwanese fishermen, and accidentally by Japanese tuna fishermen in the Indian Ocean.Mass strandings possibly caused by sonar.UnknownEstimates in Hawaiian waters; Gulf of Mexico has estimates for mesoplodonts; mesoplodon estimates in eastern pacific.Not believed to be uncommon.
North Atlantic Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)Data DeficientFound only in the North Atlantic, from New England, USA to Baffin Island and southern Greenland in the west and from the Strait of Gibraltar to Svalbard in the east.Few incidental catches have been reported.UnknownUnknownRough estimate open to questions is that about 40,000 occur in the eastern North Atlantic.Not addressed in the IUCN listing.
Southern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon planifrons)Least ConcernCircumpolar distribution in the southern Hemisphere, south of about 30°S.Incidentally killed in driftnets and bycatch of driftnet fishing in the Tasman Sea.UnknownUnknown599,300 (CV=15%) beaked whales south of the Antarctic Convergence in January, most of which were considered to be southern bottlenose whales.Most common beaked whales sighted in Antarctic waters, and are clearly abundant there.
Cuvier's Beaked Whale (Mediterranean) (Ziphius cavirostris)Data deficientWestern and eastern basins of the Mediterranean.Bycatch in drift gillnets.Mass strandings from noise.UnknownTwo abundance estimates for this species in small portions of the Mediterranean Sea.Common; hotspots are eastern Ligurian Sea, the eastern Alborán Sea and the Hellenic Trench. The species is probably also common in several other unexplored areas.
Cuvier's Beaked Whale (European) (Ziphius cavirostris)Data deficientFound in most marine waters worldwide, except for shallow water areas and very high-latitude polar regions.Cuvier’s beaked whales have sometimes been taken in other direct fisheries outside Europe.Mass strandings from noise.UnknownAbundance not estimated in european waters.Common
Cuvier's Beaked Whale (Global) (Ziphius cavirostris)Least ConcernWidely distributed in offshore waters of all oceans, from the tropics to the polar regions in both hemispheres. Their range covers most marine waters of the world, with the exception of shallow water areas, and very high-latitude polar regions.Bycatch has been reported in several fisheries.Mass strandings from noise.UnknownGlobal trend or abundance data for this species are unavailable but abundance is at least 100,000.Common
Gervais' Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon europaeus)Data deficientProbably continuously distributed in deep waters across the tropical and temperate Atlantic Ocean, both north and south of the equator.Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely.Mass strandings possibly caused by noise.UnknownEstimates indicate that 106 (CV=41%) beaked whales of the genus Mesoplodon occur in the northern Gulf of Mexico, considered to be either M. densirostris or M. europaeus.Not believed to be uncommon.
Ginkgo-toothed Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens)Data deficientTemperate and tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, from Sri Lanka east to the shores of North America (California) and the Galápagos Islands.Occasionally have been taken by Japanese and Taiwanese whalers; some have been caught in deepwater drift gillnets.Active sonar from military vessels has been implicated in mass strandings of ginkgo-toothed beaked whales.UnknownNo estimateRelatively uncommon species.
Gray's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon grayi)Data deficientSouthern Hemisphere cool temperate species, which is apparently circum-Antarctic in occurrence.Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely.UnknownAs a cold water species, may be vulnerable as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateNot believed to be uncommon.
Hector's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon hectori)Data deficientSouthern Hemisphere cool temperate species; speculated that the species has a continuous distribution in the Atlantic and Indian oceans at least from South America to New Zealand. Although there are no current records from the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, the range may prove to be circumpolar.Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely.UnknownAs a temperate water species, may be vulnerable as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateMay be relatively common around New Zealand.
Hubbs' Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon carlhubbsi)Data deficientApparently limited to the North Pacific Ocean.Incidental catches in drift gillnets occur sporadically off the coast of California. Whale meat products from this species are occasionally found for sale on the Japanese market.UnknownUnknownNo estimateRelatively uncommon species.
Indo-pacific Beaked Whale (Indopacetus pacificus)Data deficientTropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.Gillent and longline fisheries. Some evidence from Sri Lanka of incidenetal takes.Bubble like lesions have been reported in a stranded animal.UnknownNo estimateRelatively uncommon.
Perrin's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon perrini)Data deficientSouthern and central California (between 32° and 37°N); likely endemic to the North Pacific Ocean.Entanglement (deep water gillnets) is probably the biggest threat.UnknownRestricted distribution.No estimateLikely uncommon.
Pygmy Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon peruvianus)Data deficientKnown from a handful of specimens and several dozen sighting from the eastern tropical/warm temperate Pacific, including the Gulf of California. This suggests that the species may be an eastern Pacific endemic. However, there is a single record of a stranding in New Zealand, possibly suggesting that this species may have a more extensive distribution than previously believed.Some pygmy beaked whales are caught incidentally in drift gillnets for sharks off Peru. Entanglement in fishing gear, especially gillnets in deep water (e.g., for billfish and tuna), is probably the most significant threat.UnknownUnknownA total abundance of 32,678 beaked whales is estimated for the genus Mesoplodon in the eastern Pacific (corrected for missed animals). The majority of these were Mesoplodon peruvianus and Mesoplodon densirostris (Pitman and Lynn 2001).Relatively uncommon species.
Shepherd's Beaked Whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi)Data deficientPrimarily known from a few dozen strandings, all south of 30°S, around New Zealand, southern Australia, southern South America, the Juan Fernandez Islands, and Tristan de Cunha; presumed that they have a circumpolar distribution in cold temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere.No major threats are known for this species.UnknownUnknownNo estimateRelatively uncommon.
Sowerby's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon bidens)Data deficientKnown almost exclusively from the colder waters of the North Atlantic, from at least Massachusetts, USA to Labrador, Canada, and from Iceland to Norway.Incidentally killed by whalers in Newfoundland, Iceland, and in the Barents Sea. A few entanglements in fishing gear (e.g., driftnets) have been documented but the fishery has now been closed.UnknownUnknownNo estimateNot believed to be uncommon.
Spade-toothed Whale (Mesoplodon traversii)Data deficientProbably a southern Hemisphere (possibly circum-Antarctic) species.Entanglement in fishing gear, especially gillnets is probably the most significant threat.UnknownPotentially limited to temperate waters, may be vulnerable as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateRelatively rare.
Stejneger's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri)Data deficientFound in continental slope and oceanic waters of the North Pacific Basin, from southern California, north to the Bering Sea, and south to the Sea of Japan. It has been hypothesized that there may be a resident subpopulation in the Sea of Japan and southern Okhotsk Sea.Entanglement in fishing gear, especially gillnets in deep water, is probably the most significant threat.UnknownAs a cold water species, may be vulnerable as ocean warming may result in a contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateNot believed to be uncommon.
Strap-toothed Whale (Mesoplodon layardii)Data deficientApparently this species has a continuous distribution in cold temperate waters of the Southern Hemisphere, mostly between 35° and 60°S; The seasonality of strandings suggests that this species may migrate. Like all beaked whales, they occur mostly in deep waters beyond the edge of the continental shelf. There is some evidence of sexual segregation in distribution.Pervasive gillnet and longline fisheries throughout the species' range raises concern that some bycatch is likely.UnknownAs a cold to temperate water species, may be vulnerable as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateProbably not a rare species compared to its congeners.
True's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon mirus)Data deficientDisjunct, anti-tropical distribution.Entanglement in fishing gear, especially gillnets in deep water (e.g., for billfish and tuna), is probably the most significant threat.UnknownAs a temperate water species it may be vulnerable to climate change as ocean warming may result in a shift or contraction of the species range as it tracks the occurrence of its preferred water temperatures.No estimateNot believed to be uncommon.