Humpback whale research in Australian waters

Cetacean permit application C2008-0002
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, June 2008


About the application

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts has received an application for a permit to interfere with cetaceans under Part 13, section 237 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

This application is specifically for a permit to conduct scientific research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Australian waters, under which the applicant is seeking to develop a better understanding of how anthropogenic underwater noise affects humpback whales and to develop non-invasive methods of studying the physiology of baleen whales.

Part of this research will entail some interference with humpback whales including, making close approaches (within 100m), collecting biological samples, exposing whales to underwater noises to gauge their reactions, attaching temporary suction cup tags to monitor their movement, and collecting whale mucus blow to analyse it for steroid hormones.

The permit is requested to begin on 1 August 2008 and finish on 31 December 2009.

In accordance with the provisions of section 237(3b) of the EPBC Act, you are invited to comment on this proposal before COB 20 June 2008.

Comments can be sent by email to or in writing to:
The Director
Cetacean Policy and Recovery Section
PO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

See also