The Arabian Sea Whale Network was formed during a a Workshop in Dubai in January 2015. The driving force behind the formation of the network was concern about the Arabian Sea Humpback whale population – small, genetically distinct and isolated – and the only known non-migratory population of humpback whales in the world. These whales are found in an area with some of the worlds’ busiest shipping routes as well as ever-expanding oil and gas exploration and development as well as major ports and shipping lanes and fisheries. Population estimates based on whales photographed off the coast of Oman are fewer than 100 individuals, and the population is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species.
The January 2015 workshop report, contains a wealth of summary information on the Arabian Sea Humpback whale population as well as priorities for research and conservation. It also contains information on the aims and structure of the network. The “Downloadable Resources” link will lead you to lists of published literature and reports for and from network members.
The map above illustrates the catch locations of thousands of whales that were illegally hunted by Soviet fleets in the 1960’s. Systematic whale research off the coast of Oman over the past 16 years has confirmed their ongoing presence there, but little is known about their current distribution in other parts of the Arabian Sea. ASWN members (locations of their research projects shown in Red and yellow dots on the map above) are working to fill in our knowledge gaps and determine ways to conserve the whales remaining in the region.
Click here to learn more about members and find links to their websites and projects.