Entanglements in shark nets and fishing gear costs millions of dollars a year and result in serious injury or death to whales and dolphins.
Although a great deal of effort has been directed toward attempts to use acoustic deterrents to reduce or eliminate incidental capture, there is little evidence of the effectiveness of such methods for resolving cetacean-fishery conflicts, particularly in the case of large whale species. As the east Australian humpback whale population continues to increase, whales are more likely to encounter these dangers.
This project, with Macquarie University, aims to test the effectiveness of low-frequency whale alarms for deterring migrating humpback whales, and determine the best way to deploy such alarms on the shark nets which are placed off Sydney beaches each year.
The project will also develop a wider risk-management mitigations strategy for humpback whale and fishing interactions.
Taronga contact is Dr David Slip, Marine biologist.