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Recovery Strategy for Blue, Fin, and Sei Whales in Pacific Canadian Waters [Final]

1 Introduction

Blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus), and sei (B. borealis) whales are collectively referred to herein as balaenopterid whales (order Cetacea, suborder Mysticeti, family Balaenopteridae). Balaenopterids, together with the families Balaenidae and Eschrichtiidae comprise the baleen whales. Baleen whales are characterised by a unique method of feeding, where mouthfuls of water containing prey are strained through large baleen plates. This distinctive feeding behaviour allows these species to take advantage of concentrations of zooplankton or schooling fish.

The balaenopterid whales are considered collectively because of a similar geographic distribution and shared threats. These similarities have warranted the development of an integrated, multi-species Recovery Strategy.

This Recovery Strategy provides the scientific basis to recover the populations of blue, fin and sei whales that occur in Pacific Canadian waters off the coast of British Columbia. Knowledge about these whales is poor in Pacific Canadian waters. Therefore the collection of basic data on abundance and distribution, critical habitat, and threats is the first priority for their recovery. As information is gathered, the Recovery Strategy may be amended to incorporate new findings (a copy of the amendment must be included in the public registry).