Australia takes global leadership on whale research

Joint press release

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water
Minister for Climate Change

The Hon Julie Collins MP
Federal Member for Franklin

Australia's global leadership in whale conservation has been consolidated today with an extra $6 million in federal funding to build on our non-lethal whale research program, which remains the largest program in the world.

The funding will support new research, including an Antarctic blue whale research voyage in 2014/15 to examine their post-exploitation recovery and explain their important role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem.

Federal Minister for the Environment Mark Butler said the funding would be provided over two years under the International Whales and Marine Mammal Conservation Initiative which underpins a broader commitment to the conservation and protection of the ocean's giants.

"This funding supports the comprehensive reform agenda Australia has taken to the International Whaling Commission and sends a clear message to the world about Australia's determination to ensure whale research is conducted through non-lethal means," Mr Butler said.

Member for Franklin, Julie Collins said Australia's world-leading whale research effort is spearheaded by the Tasmanian based Australian Marine Mammal Centre in Tasmania and additional funding is being provided to the Centre as part of this initiative.

"An additional $1 million will be available through the Tasmanian based Australian Marine Mammal Centre as grants to further research into the conservation of Australian marine mammals," Ms Collins said.

"Our researchers will also lead a voyage to the Antarctic which will study the recovery of Antarctic blue whales which were nearly hunted to extinction earlier last century."

Mr Butler said that the excellent work carried out under the Australian-initiated Southern Ocean Research Partnership had delivered huge dividends which will contribute markedly to the international scientific community's understanding of these different whale species.

"Innovative non-lethal research technology and techniques trialled by Australia during this year's Antarctic Blue Whale Project research expedition, were so successful they will now become the model for other whale researchers across the world," Mr Butler said.

This funding is in addition to the 2008 $32 million investment already made by this Labor Government into alternatives to invasive whale research.

This page was last updated on 24 July 2013