Less than 100 Humpback whales in Oman’s waters
April 11, 2017 | 10:18 PM
by Khadija Alzadjali / [email protected]
Threats to the humpback whale include being hit by a ship due to the region’s busy shipping lanes. -ESO

Muscat: Studies by the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) reveal that there are less than 100 Arabian Sea Humpback whales left in Oman’s waters, which is a cause of concern.

“The Arabian Sea Humpback Whale is the only non-migratory species of humpback whales in the world. It is assumed they feed and breed in the waters of Oman. There are less than 100 individuals estimated in this endangered population. Our research shows they are mostly concentrated around the Gulf of Masirah and Dhofar,” ESO Programmes Director, Suaad Al Harthi said.

Scars from entanglement

“We would like to do everything possible to save these species for generations to come,” she added.

According to the Arabian Sea Whale Network, 30 to 40 per cent of whales photographed off Oman have scars from entanglement in fishing gear, known as bycatch.

Threats to the humpback whale include being hit by a ship due to the regions busy shipping lanes, underwater noise and pollution from oil and gas activities, and habitat degradation from coastal development.

The Arabia Sea Whale Network states that 242 Humpback whales were killed in the Arabian Sea by illegal Soviet whaling in the 1960s. Photo identification studies indicate that only 60 to 111 whales remain off the coast of Oman.

The Whale Project, organised by ESO and Renaissance Services, is a satellite tagging project, which helps researchers watch and understand the behaviour of these species in order to understand how to better protect and conserve them.

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