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White and Basking Sharks seen off Big Sur Coast After Marine Mammal Aerial Survey Over Davidson Seamount Aborted

NOAA Twin Otter N48RF used in aerial survey


On July 6, 2011 marine mammal observers flew in a NOAA twin otter to conduct MBNMS’ annual aerial survey for marine mammals over and near the Davidson Seamount, 80 miles southwest of Monterey. Unfortunately the typical summer pattern of dense offshore fog prevented the quantitative survey from happening. However, the crew took the opportunity to fly north up the coast from Cambria to Santa Cruz at low altitude and 2 miles offshore.

Of special interest were two white sharks and three basking sharks seen off the Big Sur coast. Identifications were confirmed by all expert observers after circling the targets for verification. Additional observations included blue and humpback whales, blue sharks, California sea lions, harbor seals, Ocean sunfish, and Dall’s porpoise among others. All observations were recorded and plotted on a map. For more information about the marine mammal survey program, please visit the project page on SIMoN.

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