, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 315-322

Monitoring the movements of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena ) with satellite telemetry

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Abstract

The movements of nine harbour porpoises, Phocoena phocoena (L.), in the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine were tracked using satellite telemetry. Transmitters were attached to the porpoises in August 1994 and 1995 after they were captured near Grand Manan Island at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Tracking periods ranged from 2 to 212 d (mean 50 ± 65 d). Porpoises exhibited a high degree of individual variation in movement patterns; five moved out of the Bay of Fundy into the Gulf of Maine. The porpoise with the longest tracking period moved extensively throughout the Gulf of Maine. These data suggest that seasonal movement patterns of individual harbour porpoises are discrete and are not temporally coordinated migrations. Porpoises that moved out of the Bay of Fundy into the Gulf of Maine did so following the 92 m isobath, which may represent an important movement corridor. The movement of porpoises from the Bay of Fundy into the Gulf of Maine supports the hypothesis that harbour porpoises from these two regions comprise a single population at risk of entanglement in both Canadian and US fisheries.