From our observation, information about the whales off the coast of De Gi – Binh Dinh emerged around July 26th, 2022. Starting from the beginning of August, these images and videos became the center of public attention, and were continuously reported by numerous mainstream newspapers and social media sites. Recognising misinformation about species identification, the Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Endangered Species (CBES) collaborated with Binh Dinh Fisheries Sub-Department to survey off the coast of De Gi – Binh Dinh for 4 days (from the afternoon of August 12th to the end of August 15th), to support the Binh Dinh Fisheries Sub-Department to study the whale entering this sea area.
The survey was conducted by a fisheries surveillance vessel (belonging to Binh Dinh Fisheries Surveillance Force) from 14:00 to 16:00 local time on the 12th 2022 and by a local fishing boat chartered at De Gi port on the remaining days. We maintained a speed below 15km/h to move around the survey route, and assigned surveyors on the left and right sides of the boat to observe, search and record any signs of the whales.
During the field survey, CBES identified the whale species appearing off the coast of De Gi – Binh Dinh area as the Bryde’s whales, scientific name Balaenoptera edeni. Bryde’s whale is listed in Appendix I of CITES which prohibits international trade; Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wildlife CMS; classified as VU level (vulnerable) according to “Decision 82/2008/QD-BNN of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the publication of the List of rare and endangered aquatic species in Vietnam that need protection, recovery, and development”.
In more than 10 years of research on marine mammals, CBES recorded a total of 7 cases of Bryde’s whales washed up on the coast of Vietnam. In addition, this whale species has also been mentioned in many different research papers in Vietnam (Research 1, 2, 3). Due to the nature of the quick survey, CBES has not yet recorded much scientific evidence and in-depth study on the behavior of these two Bryde’s whales. We propose to continue to research and record more evidence such as bioacoustics, modeling, GPS tracking, etc. to serve the purpose of marine mammals conservation.
CBES is very pleased that marine mammals are receiving great attention from the Vietnamese people and hopes that the information in the recent CBES survey will help the community better understand Bryde’s whales off the coast of De Gi – Binh Dinh.