Species group report card




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3. Relevant protection measures

The Australian Whale Sanctuary was established under the EPBC Act to protect all whales and dolphins in Australian waters. The Australian Whale Sanctuary comprises the Commonwealth marine area and covers all of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone which generally extends out to 200 nautical miles from the coast and includes the waters surrounding Australia’s external territories such as Christmas, Cocos (Keeling), Norfolk, Heard and Macdonald Islands. Within the Australian Whale Sanctuary it is an offence to kill, injure or interfere with a cetacean. Severe penalties apply to anyone convicted of such offences. More information about the Australian Whale Sanctuary can be found at www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/cetaceans/conservation/sanctuary.html

Alongside the EPBC Act, a broad range of sector-specific management measures to address environmental issues and mitigate impacts applies to activities that take place in Commonwealth marine areas. These measures give effect to regulatory and administrative requirements under Commonwealth and state legislation for activities such as commercial and recreational fishing, oil and gas exploration and production, port activities and maritime transport. In some instances, as in the case of shipping, these measures also fulfil Australia’s obligations under a number of international conventions for the protection of the marine environment from pollution and environmental harm.

Protection and conservation measures administered under the EPBC Act and that are relevant to the conservation values described in this Report Card are listed below.



EPBC Act conservation plans and action plans

  • Southern Right Whale Recovery Plan 2005–2010 (DEH 2005a)

  • Humpback Whale Recovery Plan 2005–2010 (DEH 2005b)

  • Blue, Fin and Sei Whale Recovery Plan 2005–2010 (DEH 2005c)

  • Threat Abatement Plan for the Impacts of Marine Debris on Vertebrate Marine Life (DEWHA 2009)

  • Action Plan for Australian Cetaceans (Bannister, Kemper & Warneke 1996)

  • Australian National Guidelines For Whale And Dolphin Watching (DEH 2006)

  • EPBC Act Policy Statement 2.1: Interaction between offshore seismic exploration and whales (DEWHA 2008b)

  • Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Commonwealth waters), includes a marine mammal protection zone that aims to provide protection for southern right whales.

International measures

Australia is a signatory to the following international agreements for the conservation of cetaceans:



  • International Whaling Commission (IWC)—www.iwcoffice.org/commission/convention.htm

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)—www.cites.org

  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)—www.cms.int

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)—www.cbd.int/convention.

For more information on conservation listings under the EPBC Act, and related management objectives and protection measures, visit the following sites:

  • www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/marine-species-list.html (listed marine species)

  • www.environment.gov.au/epbc/protect/species-communities.html (listed threatened species)

  • www.environment.gov.au/epbc/protect/migratory.html (listed migratory species)

  • www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/sprat.pl (species profile and threats database).

References

AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) 2010, The effects of oil on wildlife, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, viewed 10 March 2011, <www.amsa.gov.au/marine_environment_protection/educational_resources_and_information/teachers/the_effects_of_oil_on_wildlife.asp>.

AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) 2011, Fact Sheet – How Australia Responds to Oil and Chemical Spills in the Marine Environment, viewed 17 May 2012, <www.amsa.gov.au/Publications/Fact_sheets/How_Australia_Responds_to_Oil_and_Chemical_spills.pdf>

Australian Government 2007, Country report on ship strikes: Australia, submitted by the Government of Australia to the Conservation Committee, 59th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, IWC/59/CC4, viewed February 2011, <iwcoffice.org/_documents/commission/IWC59docs/59-CC4.pdf>.

Australian Marine Mammal Centre 2009, Report of the Australian Southern Right Whale Workshop, 19–20 March 2009, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Tasmania.

Baker, CS & Clapham, PJ 2004, ‘Modelling the past and future of whales and whaling’, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 365–71.

Bannister, JL 1990, Southern right whales off Western Australia, report of the International Whaling Commission, special issue 12, pp. 279–88.

Bannister, JL 2009, ‘Population dynamics of southern right whales’, Australian Antarctic Magazine, issue 16, viewed 19 October 2010, <www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/australian-antarctic-magazine/issue-16-2009/population-dynamics-of-southern-right-whales>.

Bannister, JL & Hedley, SL 2001, ‘Southern Hemisphere group IV humpback whales: their status from recent aerial survey’, Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 587–98.

Bannister JL, Kemper, CM & Warneke, RM 1996, The action plan for Australian cetaceans, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra, viewed 21 March 2011, <www.environment.gov.au/coasts/publications/cetaceans-action-plan/pubs/whaleplan.pdf>.

Branch, TA, 2008, ‘Abundance of Antarctic blue whales south of 60° S from three complete circumpolar sets of surveys’, Journal of Cetacean Resource Management, vol. 9, pp. 87–96.

Branch, TA, Matsuoka, K & Miyashita, T 2004, ‘Evidence for increases in Antarctic blue whales based on Bayesian modelling’, Marine Mammal Science, vol. 20, pp. 726–54.

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Bryden, MM, Kirkwood, GP & Slade, RW 1990, ‘Humpback whales, area V: an increase in numbers off Australia’s east coast’, in KR Kerry & G Hempel (eds), Antarctic ecosystems: ecological change and conservation, Springer Verlag, Berlin, pp. 271–7.

Burnell, SR 1999, ‘The population biology of southern right whales in southern Australian waters’, PhD thesis, University of Sydney.

Burnell, SR 2001, ‘Aspects of the reproductive biology, movements and site fidelity of right whales off Australia’, Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, special issue 2, pp. 89–102.

Burnell, S & McKenna, T 1996, An incidental flight network for the photo-identification of southern right whales off south-eastern Australia, unpublished report to BHP Petroleum Pty Ltd.

Burton, CLK 2003, ‘Investigation of blue whales in Geographe Bay, Western Australia’. Unpublished report to the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra, 12 pp

Ceccarelli, DM 2009, Impacts of plastic debris on Australian marine wildlife, report by C&R Consulting for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.

Chaloupka, M & Osmond, M 1999, ‘Spatial and seasonal distribution of humpback whales in the Great Barrier Reef region’, American Fisheries Society Symposium, vol. 23, pp. 89–106.

Church, JA, White, NJ, Hunter, JR, McInnes, KL, Mitchell, WM, O’Farrell, SP & Griffin, DA 2009, ‘Sea level’, in ES Poloczanska, AJ Hobday & AJ Richardson (eds), A marine climate change impacts and adaptation report card for Australia 2009, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, viewed 9 March 2011, <www.oceanclimatechange.org.au>.

Clapham, PJ, Young, SB & Brownell, RL, Jr 1999, ‘Baleen whales: conservation issues and the status of the most endangered populations’, Mammal Review, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 35–60.

Clifton, J, Olejnik, M, Boruff, B & Tonts, M 2007, Patterns of future development in the South-west Marine Region, report for the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.

Climate Commission 2011, ‘The critical decade’, Climate science, risks and responses, Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Canberra.

DEH (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage) 2005a, Southern right whale recovery plan 2005–2010, DEH, Canberra, viewed 29 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/eubalaena-australis.html>.

DEH (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage) 2005b, Humpback whale recovery plan 2005–2010, DEH, Canberra, viewed 29 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/m-novaeangliae/index.html>.

DEH (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage) 2005c, Blue, fin and sei whale recovery plan 2005–2010, DEH, Canberra, viewed 29 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/balaenoptera-sp.html>.

DEH (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage) 2006, Australian national guidelines for whale and dolphin watching 2005, DEH, Canberra, viewed 29 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/coasts/publications/whale-watching-guidelines-2005.html>.

DEWHA (Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) 2008a, Background paper to EPBC Act Policy Statement 2.1: Interaction between offshore seismic exploration and whales, DEWHA, Canberra, viewed 28 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/pubs/seismic-whales-background.pdf>.

DEWHA (Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) 2008b, EPBC Act Policy Statement 2.1: Interaction between offshore seismic exploration and whales, DEWHA, Canberra, viewed 28 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/pubs/seismic-whales.pdf>.

DEWHA (Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) 2009, Threat abatement plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life, DEWHA, Canberra, viewed 5 October 2010, <www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/marine-debris.html>.

Dolman, SJ, Green, M & Simmonds, MP 2007, ‘Marine renewable energy and cetaceans’, submission to the Scientific Committee of the IWC SC/59/E10.

Feng, ME, Weller E & Hill, K 2009, ‘The Leeuwin Current’, in ES Poloczanska, AJ Hobday & AJ Richardson (eds), A marine climate change impacts and adaptation report card for Australia 2009, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, viewed 7 March 2011, <www.oceanclimatechange.org.au>.

Gill, P & Morrice, M 2008, ‘Blue whales in the eastern Great Australian Bight, South-west Marine Region’, Blue Whale Study Inc., unpublished report.

Hatch, L, Clark, C, Merrick, R, Van Parijs, S, Ponikarus, D, Schwer, K, Thompson, M, & Wiley D 2007, ‘Characterising the relative contribution of large vessels to total ocean noise fields: A case study using the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Environmental Management, 42:735-752.

Hedley, SL, Bannister, JL & Dunlop, RA 2009, ‘Group IV humpback whales: abundance estimates from aerial and land-based surveys off Shark Bay, Western Australia’, unpublished paper SC/61/SH23 presented to the IWC Scientific Committee, June 2009, Madeira, Portugal.

Hobday, AJ, Okey, TA, Poloczanska, ES, Kunz, TJ & Richardson, AJ (eds) 2006, Impacts of climate change on Australian marine life, report to the Australian Greenhouse Office, Canberra, Australia.

IWC (International Whaling Commission) 2001, ‘Report of the workshop on the comprehensive assessment of right whales: a worldwide comparison’, Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, special issue 2, pp. 1–60.

Johnson, JH & Wolman, AA 1985, ‘The humpback whale’, Marine Fisheries Review, vol. 46, pp. 30–7.

Kawaguchi, S, Kurihara, H, King, R, Hale, L, Berli, T, Robinson, JP, Ishida, A, Wakita, M, Virtue, P, Nicol, S & Ishimatsu, A 2010, ‘Will krill fare well under Southern Ocean acidification?’ Biology Letters, viewed 28 October 2010, <rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/10/07/rsbl.2010.0777.full.pdf+html>.

Kemper, CM 2008, Analysis of South Australian Museum’s cetacean data: distribution, seasonal trends and circumstance of ‘death’, South Australian Museum, Adelaide.

Kemper, CM, Coughran, D, Warneke, R, Pirzl, R, Watson, M, Gales, R & Gibbs, S 2008, ‘Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) mortalities and human interactions in Australia, 1950–2006’, Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, vol. 10, pp. 1–8.

Kemper, CM, Pemberton, D, Cawthorn, M, Heinrich, S, Mann, J, Wursig, B, Shaughnessy, P & Gales, R 2003, ‘Aquaculture and marine mammals: co-existence or conflict?’ in N Gales, M Hindell & R Kirkwood (eds), Marine mammals: fisheries, tourism and management issues, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 209–25.

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Attachment 1: Cetacean species occurring in the South-west Marine Region

Table A1: Cetacean species known to occur in the South-west Marine Region

Species (common name/scientific name)

Conservation status

Pygmy blue whale, Antarctic blue
(Balaenoptera musculus)1

Cetacean, endangered, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I)

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)

Cetacean, endangered, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I)

Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Cetacean, vulnerable, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I and II)

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Cetacean, vulnerable, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I)

Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)

Cetacean, vulnerable, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I and II)

Antarctic minke whale, dark-shoulder minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix II)

Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix II)

Killer whale, orca (Orcinus orca)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix II) and CMS (Appendix II)

Pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix II)

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix I) and CMS (Appendix I and II)

Andrew’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini)

Cetacean

Arnoux’s beaked whale (Berardius arnuxii)

Cetacean

Cuvier’s beaked whale, goose-beaked whale
(Ziphius cavirostris)

Cetacean

Gray’s beaked whale, scamperdown whale (Mesoplodon grayi)

Cetacean

Table A1 continued: Cetacean species known to occur in the South-west Marine Region

Species (common name/scientific name)

Conservation status

Hector’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon hectori)

Cetacean

Shepherd’s beaked whale, Tasman beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi)

Cetacean

Strap-toothed beaked whale, strap-toothed whale, Layard’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon layardii)

Cetacean

True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus)

Cetacean

Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus)

Cetacean

Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps)

Cetacean

False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens)

Cetacean

Minke whale, dwarf minke whale
(Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

Cetacean

Southern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon planifrons)

Cetacean

Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas)

Cetacean

Short-finned pilot whale
(Globicephala macrorhynchus)

Cetacean

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Cetacean

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

Cetacean

Long-snouted spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris)

Cetacean

Risso’s dolphin, grampus (Grampus griseus)

Cetacean

Southern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii)

Cetacean

Spotted bottlenose dolphin, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)

Cetacean

Spotted dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin
(Stenella attenuata)

Cetacean

Striped dolphin, euphrosyne dolphin
(Stenella coeruleoalba)

Cetacean

CITES = Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora;

CMS = Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

Table A2: Cetacean species known to occur in the South-west Marine Region on an infrequent basis

Species (common name/scientific name)

Conservation status

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix II) and CMS (Appendix II)

Spectacled porpoise, spectacled dolphin
(Phocoena dioptrica)

Cetacean, migratory—listed under CITES (Appendix II) and CMS (Appendix II)

Blainville’s beaked whale, dense-beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris)

Cetacean

Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale, gingko-toothed whale, gingko beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens)

Cetacean

Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra)

Cetacean

Omura’s whale (Balaenoptera omurai)2

Cetacean

Pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata)

Cetacean

Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis)

Cetacean

Fraser’s dolphin, Sarawak dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)

Cetacean

CITES = Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora;



CMS = Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals


1 The taxonomy of blue whales is unclear; however, it is generally accepted that there are two subspecies in the Southern Hemisphere: the ‘true’ Antarctic blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus intermedia, and the pygmy blue whale, B. m. brevicauda. Both subspecies are thought to occur in the South-west Marine Region, although their respective distributions are uncertain. One notable difference is that during the Southern Hemisphere summer, ‘true’ blues are usually found south of 60° S, while ‘pygmy’ blues are usually found north of 55° S. Blue whales are listed under the EPBC Act at the species level; however, where possible, we distinguish between subspecies. Where subspecies cannot be identified, both subspecies are referred to collectively as ‘blue whales

2 There is some contention as to whether Balaenoptera omurai is a distinct species
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