Ecology and importance of feeding on migratory stopovers to humpback whales

Cetacean permit application C2011-0002
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, May 2011

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About the application

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 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).

The application is for a permit carry out scientific research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in New South Wales waters. This research will investigate the ecology and importance of feeding on migratory stopovers to this species using a variety of methods including D-tagging, land based observations, biopsy and environmental sampling. The location of the research will be the waters directly off Eden, NSW and the project has a commencement date of the 1st of September 2011 and an end date of the 31st of December 2013.

Over the three years of field work it is anticipated that a maximum of 660 (220 a year) whales (compared to the estimated population size of 14,000 in 2010) will be approached. Of these 660, a maximum of 300 will be biopsied and a maximum of 60 whales will be tagged. The 660 approached also allows for animals that may be approached for tagging but are then deemed evasive and left alone for a new target animal to be approached. It also accounts for situations where groups of feeding animals will be targeted with the aim of tagging one of the whales.

In accordance with the provisions of section 237(3b) of the EPBC Act, you are invited to comment on this proposal before COB 3 June 2011.

Comments can be sent by email to EPBC.permits@environment.gov.au or in writing to:

The Director
Cetacean Conservation Management Section
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601