Oceanic Cetaceans and Associated Habitats in the Western Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands Marine Assessment – Oceanic Cetaceans and Associated Habitats was conducted from 10 May to 16 June 2004.
Because of the broad and multi-faceted nature of the Solomon Island Marine Assessment’s activities and goals, this program was not designed as a dedicated cetacean survey.
As such the Solomon Island Marine Assessment could not address certain species- or habitat-specific conservation and management issues for cetaceans – such as the estimation of relative abundances (which can only be estimated through more structured and periodic surveys).
Instead, this program was structured as a Rapid Ecological Assessment on Solomon Islands’ oceanic cetaceans and associated habitats (the SI Cetacean REA) and included the following activities:
1. To conduct a visual and acoustic survey on Solomon Islands’ whale and dolphin species diversity, distribution, ranking of total individual count and their associated habitats (near shore, yet deep-water);
2. To canvass community knowledge on local cetacean sighting patterns, strandings and cetaceans’ role in cultural heritage and folklore;
3. To conduct an on-board capacity building program on cetaceans for local scientists and marine conservationists;
4. To assist with the identification of migratory corridors of national and regional importance, as well as other critical cetacean habitats;
5. To strengthen national conservation policies for large cetaceans and marine bio- diversity in general;
6. To evaluate the potential for sustainable and responsible (sperm) whale and dolphin watch activities.
More information on results and outcomes is provided in the Executive Summary.

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