Between 2014-15 to 2016-17, we invested $2 million supporting the implementation of a Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan.
This included the National Landcare Program phase one investment of $1.4 million toward activities supporting a National Whale Stranding Action Plan, a National Dolphin Conservation Plan and the development of a National Whale Trail.
We also provided $600,000 to the States and the Northern Territory for the purchase of equipment and training as part of the National Whale Stranding Action Plan.
The Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan was made up of 3 components:
- National Dolphin Conservation Plan
The National Dolphin Conservation Plan component aimed to promote the conservation of dolphins in Australian waters by supporting research into dolphin conservation, including investigating key threats and determining the conservation status of priority species such as the Australian Snubfin dolphin and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. The scope of research will include investigating ecological impacts, water quality, habitat monitoring, dolphin health issues and associated aetiology.
- National Whale Trail
The Whale Trail initiative component helped establish a national network of land based whale observation sites. The whale platforms aim to increase community awareness and participation in whale watching to share information about whales, including biological and migratory information.
- National Strandings and Entanglement Action Plan
The National Strandings and Entanglement Action Plan component supported the relevant state authorities response to strandings and entanglement incidents by providing training and equipment. Funding also supported research on how to better understand and respond to stranding and entanglement incidents.
National Dolphin Conservation Plan
The Dolphin Research Institute
The Dolphin Research Institute investigated the historical and contemporary presence of skin lesions in the Port Phillip resident communities as a proxy for wild dolphin community health. The outcomes of research contributed to the development of a ‘toolbox’ for monitoring dolphin health and a threats matrix to guide decision making relevant for monitoring other Australian dolphin communities.
Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation
Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation conducted ecological research including exploring the geographic distribution, population abundance, threats and health status of tropical inshore dolphin species within Queensland coastal waters.
James Cook University
James Cook University developed and coordinated a national research framework to conserve the Australian snubfin dolphin, the newly described Australian humpback dolphin and other tropical inshore dolphins.
National Whale Trail
The following coastal councils received up to $25,000 to establish or enhance land-based whale watching lookout sites:
- Gosford City Council; New South Wales
- Port Stephens Council; New South Wales
- City of Busselton; Western Australia
- Glenelg Shire Council; Victoria
- Redland City Council, North Stradbroke Island; Queensland
- Bass Coast Shire Council; Victoria
- Outback Communities Authority; South Australia
- Colac Otway Shire; Victoria
- Glamorgan Spring Bay Council; Tasmania
- Break O’Day Council; Tasmania
- Byron Shire Council; New South Wales
- Coffs Harbour City Council; New South Wales
- Tasman Council; Tasmania
- Sorell Council; Tasmania
- Sunshine Coast Council; Queensland
- City of Victor Harbor; South Australia
- City of Onkaparinga; South Australia
- Kangaroo Island; South Australia