False killer whale movements in relation to FADs

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are buoys that are designed to attract aggregations of pelagic fishes that naturally associate with floating objects; the purpose of FADs is to enhance fishermen’s catch. However, FADs may also attract false killer whales that pursue the same prey fishes, and consequently exacerbate the risk of harmful fisheries interactions. More broadly, this research will help discern whether FADs have an influence on false killer whale space use which ultimately informs our understanding of their occurrence and associated risk to anthropogenic activities. Using movement data from 65 satellite tagged false killer whales between 2007-2021, I will examine space use and movement behavior in relation to State-sponsored FAD arrays and assess variation among demographics and over different spatial and temporal scales. I presented preliminary results of these findings at the virtual 7th International Bio-Logging Symposium in October 2021, and an expansion of this analysis will constitute my Master’s thesis.

To learn more about Hawai’i’s State-sponsored FADs: https://www.himb.hawaii.edu/FADS/

Michaela A. Kratofil
(she/her), Graduate Fellow