Preventing Marine Mammal Entanglements

An empirical assessment of avoidance of whale alarms by migrating humpback whales

A new type of whale alarm is proposed for use on shark meshing nets and fishing gear in Queensland and NSW to deter migrating Humpback Whales, and avoid entanglement. This project is investigating the effectiveness of these alarms.  Alarms were installed in the direct path of migrating whales and all visible whales were tracked in June 2012. Acoustic surveys were also performed to identify the range of the alarm. All data has been collected “blind” (without knowledge of the status of the alarm) but the data indicates significant variation in tracks. Independent analysis of the tracks with respect to alarm on/off status suggests little or no impact from the whale alarm but a modified alarm has been developed as a result of this work and will be tested in the coming season.

Project Partners:

Taronga: Dr David Slip
Macquarie University: Prof Rob Harcourt
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage: Geoff Ross
NSW Department of Industry and Innovation: Professor Vic Peddemors

For more information contact:

Taronga Conservation Science Initiative

Contact: 
Rebecca Spindler, Manager, Research and Conservation
Phone: 
+61 2 9978 4608

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