Bahamas Issued Stamps on 25th Anniversary of Marine Mammal Research Organization

bahamas stampsBahamas issued a set of 4 stamps on 10th April 2017 on the occasion of 25th Anniversary of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization, a Bahamian non-profit organization with the mission to promote the conservation of marine mammals in The Bahamas through scientific research and educational outreach.

The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization (BMMRO) since 1991 has conducted small vessel surveys primarily around Abaco Island to document the occurrence, distribution and abundance of marine mammals in The Bahamas. The majority of species found locally are deep-diving toothed whales that inhabit the pelagic waters surrounding the shallow Bahama banks. Some migrate through The Bahamas, but many species are year-round residents, including some of the world’s least known whales.A release from BMMRO states that individual animals are tracked over time through photo-identification — photographing the pattern of natural nicks and scars on each animal’s dorsal fin or tail flukes – to gain an understanding of their population demographics, reproductive success, and social structure. BMMRO’s fieldwork has expanded over the past 10 years to include larger vessel surveys in the Great Bahama Canyon, including the US Navy’s Atlantic Test and Evaluation Center in Tongue of the Ocean, where use of tactical sonars potentially pose a risk for some species.

This work has provided a wider picture of marine mammal distribution in the Northern Bahamas and has assisted in identifying important areas for deep-diving whales. Genetic studies and pollutant analyses have helped to identify stocks and will allow further investigation of the health of local populations.

The release states that through ongoing partnerships with universities and oceanographic institutes, BMMRO has many new projects underway, including the use of time-depth recording tags to investigate beaked whale foraging behavior, and hexacopters (drones) to photograph whales to assess their health.

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