Australia

One of the 15 original signatories for the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. Australia has become a world leader in the protection and conservation of whales since the end of Australia's whaling industry in 1978. Australian waters are home to approximately 45 species of whales and dolphins. The protection of these species at regional, national and international levels is a priority for the Australian Government. Australia profile on Whale Watching Handbook
  • Australia Whale watching

    Country: Australia
    Section: Information on WhaleWatching operations
    Theme: Whale watching
    Date started:
    Date ended:
    Status: Active

    The management of whale watching in Australia is a multi-jurisdictional arrangement between the Australian Government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and state and territory governments.

    Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2005 

    Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2017.

    These Guidelines were developed in consultation with the state and territory governments, scientists, industry representatives and non-government organisations. They provide a consistent national policy for the management of whale and dolphin watching in Australian waters. They build upon and replace the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2005. The guidelines provide advice for all governments in the development, updating and implementation of laws regulating whale and dolphin watching.

    Detailed information and references are in the IWC Whale Watching Handbook.

    In early 2018 the Australian Government hosted a workshop to discuss the management of swim-with whale activities.

    The objective of the workshop was to facilitate consistent management of this increasingly popular activity across all jurisdictions in Australia through:

    • The identification of appropriate management measures that can be implemented through permits and licenses issued by each jurisdiction;

    • The identification of knowledge gaps that should be filled to improve management; and

    • The formation of a network that can be expanded and used to share experiences and information to improve management.

    Workshop participants included swim-with whale operators and state and Commonwealth government officers responsible for cetacean management, research and policy development.

    External URL: https://wwhandbook.iwc.int/en/country-profiles/australia
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  • Australia cetacean conservation since IWC66.

    Country: Australia
    Section: Current Government programs related to cetacean conservation
    Theme: Conservation Management plans
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    Date ended:
    Status: Active

    To ensure the management of cetaceans continued to reflect best practice and was based on current scientific evidence, the Australian Government implemented the Whale and Dolphin Protection Plan. This plan provided resources for Australian local and state governments and the scientific community to undertake work that will help manage and protect cetaceans.

    External URL: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/epbc/publications/epbc-act-policy-statement-21-interaction-between-offshore-seismic-exploration-and-whales
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  • Australia Management Plans

    Country: Australia
    Section: Current Government programs related to cetacean conservation
    Theme: Conservation Management plans
    Date started:
    Date ended:
    Status: Active

    Government Cetacean Management Workshop – This is an annual forum attended by all relevant states and territories which allows for the timely identification of cross-jurisdictional cetacean issues, the sharing of management experience, and review and comment on emerging cetacean policy issues (both in Australia and overseas). 

    Cetaceans Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Roundtable – the Australian Government holds roundtables on cetacean matters with NGOs twice a year. This helps to ensure that issues of concern to civil society on cetacean policy and management at both national and international levels, are identified, discussed and addressed by the Government, as appropriate.

     

    External URL: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/marine/marine-species/cetaceans/legislation
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  • Australia Ship Strikes

    Country: Australia
    Section: Current Government programs related to cetacean conservation
    Theme: Ship Strikes
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    Date ended:
    Status: Active

    National strategy for reducing vessel strike on cetaceans and other marine megafauna 

    Assessing the level of risk posed by vessel collisions to cetaceans – building on a project that assessed the risk of large vessels colliding with humpback whales in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

    In 2017 the Australian Government published The National Strategy for Reducing Vessel Strike on Cetaceans and other Marine Megafauna 2017.

    This document provides guidance on how to measure and reduce the risk of vessel collisions and the impacts they may have on marine megafauna, including cetaceans.

    The development of this strategy included targeted stakeholder engagement in 2015, which included relevant state and territory government agencies, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Non- Government Organisations, including International Fund for Animal Welfare and Humane Society International. Following this public comments were sought in early 2017 before the document was finalised.

    The strategy objectives include:

    • Data acquisition to address information and knowledge gaps.

    • Data analysis involving a risk assessment and analysis of existing databases.

    • Mitigation to reduce the likelihood and severity of vessel collisions.

    • Communication to support the achievement the three previous objectives.

    The AMMC has developed a national ship strike database and an associated web-based questionnaire, based closely on the IWC data collection questionnaire. This will ensure that the data collected in Australia is compatible with the IWC ship strike database. Attempts to submit data from Australian waters directly to the IWC will be redirected back to the AMMC-based portal to ensure all reporting has national verification.

    External URL: https://recovery.gov.au/queensland-and-new-south-wales-floods-0#/
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  • Australia Underwater Noise

    Country: Australia
    Section: Current threats to cetacean conservation and management measures taken/proposed
    Theme: Anthropogenic underwater noise
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    Date ended:
    Status: Active

    The Australian Government continues to implement and promote a set of requirements aimed at minimising the impacts of seismic activities undertaken for oil and gas exploration. Practical standards to minimise the risk of acoustic injury
    to whales in the vicinity of seismic survey operations, and provides guidance on the legal responsibilities of proponents undertaking the activities.

    The Australian Government’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is the sole regulator of all offshore petroleum facilities in Commonwealth waters, and in coastal waters where state powers have been conferred. NOPSEMA is a Commonwealth Statutory Agency.

    External URL: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/seismic.html
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  • Background

    Country: Australia
    Section: Other
    Theme: Sanctuaries and protected areas
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    Date ended:
    Status: Active

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    External URL: https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/marine/marine-species/cetaceans
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