Celebrating Recovery of Australian Humpbacks

Written by on August 6, 2015 in Marine Life, Whales & Dolphins

A new study reveals that humpback whales in Australia are recovering at remarkable rates; the population increase is “among the highest documented worldwide.”

Humpback Whale breaching.

Humpback Whale breaching. Photo credit: NOAA NEFSC.

“As of 2012, scientists determined that humpback whales on the west coast increased at a rate of nine percent a year and on the east coast at a rate of 10 percent a year,” Lars Bejder, a professor at Murdoch University, explained in a news release. “The west coast population had recovered to approximately 90 percent of their known pre-whaling numbers. Similarly the east coast population recovered to 63 percent of its known pre-whaling population.”

This represents a “unique opportunity” to celebrate successful science-based management of a marine species.

A team of researchers reviewed past data and analysis of Australian humpbacks and determined that their risk of extinction is now “extremely unlikely.” This means that they can be downlisted under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) to “Threatened with a Vulnerable status.”

Similarly to removing humpbacks from the U.S. Endangered Species Act, removal from the Australian Threatened Species List would not eliminate all protections.

“…the EPBC Act would still protect them from significant impacts as a Matter of National Environmental Significance, as these whales are a migratory species,” Professor Bejder said.

This action would also allow for increased funding opportunities for species that face a higher risk of extinction.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Kacong says:

    It’s time the world placed a mirotorium on all fishing around the world now. While I was working in South Korea, a concerned Korean sent to me a video of the Japanese killing of porpoise. I couldn’t finish watching it it was so horrible. Dragging live animals tied to trucks being dragged down the street from the vessels to the killing building. Babies crying for their mothers. Most Asians just don’t care especially the Japanese. They are considered to be just animals and put there for their use to be used however. The world’s population needs to drop to half now…it would be easier to educate…. and if I were one of those people at least I would be contributing to the restoration of the environment. A. Morris