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This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub bridging study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- Aerial surveys of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) have been conducted across the southern Australian coast from Perth (W.A.) to Ceduna (S.A.) since 1993, as part of a long-term program to monitor the recovery, and inform the Conservation Management Plan (2011-2021), for this Endangered species (under the EPBC Act). The 2020 aerial survey recorded substantially lower numbers of whales than in the previous 13 years, and the lowest number of non-calving whales since the program started. An aerial survey conducted by this project in August 2021 will provide a relative estimate of annual population size for determining longer term population trends and contribute to determining if 2020 was an anomalous year or an indicator of some longer-term change to recent recovery rates and the female breeding cycle. Planned Outputs • Aerial whale survey data (counts by size class, number, and location) - 2021-22 season [dataset] • Individual whale photo-identification data - 2021-22 season [imagery - published to ARWPIC] • Final technical report with analysed data, including a short summary of recommendations for policy makers of key findings [written]
This record provides an overview of the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub small-scale study - "A photo-identification study of southern right whales to update aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia". For specific data outputs from this project, please see child records associated with this metadata. -------------------- The population of Southern Right Whales (SRW) in the Southern Hemisphere has been recovering slowly from near extinction due to its decimation from whaling before its ban in the mid-1970’s. As the species recovers, there is increasing evidence of expansion of aggregation areas. Consequently, there is a need to update known established aggregation areas and Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) and update relevant Marine Parks management plans based on new evidence. This project proposes to collate and complete photo-ID matching since 2010 to 2020 in the southwest of Australia and upload images to the National ARWPIC catalogue. Planned Outputs • Individual whale photo-identifications 2020-2020 in southwest Australia (Flinders and Geographe Bay) (photo-matching published to ARWPIC) • A report including evidence and recommendations for updating aggregation area classification in the southwest of Australia according to the Commonwealth criteria [written]
Whale muscle samples were collected from stranded and dead blue (Baleoptera musculus) and fin (Baleoptera physalus) whales in South-western Australia. Blue, fin, sperm (Physeter macrocephalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and pygmy blue (Baleoptera musculus brevicauda) whale faecal samples were collected from coastal waters off Southern Australia by trawling 0.5 mm mesh nets over the surface waters following defecation. Four species of krill (Nyctiphanes australia, Euphausia pacifica, Meganyctiphanes norvegica), including Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) were collected from various locations worldwide. We analysed the concentration of iron, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc, phosphorus and carbon in baleen whale faeces and muscle, and krill tissue using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.