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A DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR

In 2020, a new disruptive behaviour was observed when some juveniles started interacting mainly with sailing vessels, however there were also some few cases with fishing vessels, RHIBs and catamarans. The whales were reported touching, pushing and even pivoting the boats, which in some cases resulted in damages at the stern, mainly on the rudders. In total, 45 interactions were recorded from July to November 2020 between the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar and north-west Spain (Galicia) including the coast along Portugal mainland. Although no interactions had been reported in December 2020, two new cases were recorded from January 2021 on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the Strait of Gibraltar, highlighting the persistence of this novel behaviour through time. This confirms the urgent need for specific actions based on the international coordination between administrations, mariners and scientists to avoid any future harm to people, whales and boats.

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