Australia expecting massive whale watching season

June 1, 2011
File photo shows humpback whales (C) off the coast of Sydney. Australia marked the start of its whale-watching season Wednesday with predictions that some 4,000 of the giant animals will be spotted as they make their way along the coast during winter.

Australia marked the start of its whale-watching season Wednesday with predictions that some 4,000 of the giant animals will be spotted as they make their way along the coast during winter.

Humpback and southern migrate along Australia's east coast each year, passing Sydney as they head north away from Antarctica for the coldest months of June and July. They return south between September to November.

"We're expecting a really great season this year," New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service whale expert Geoff Ross said.

"The large number of whales that have been passing over the last couple of days indicate the peak days towards the first week of July will be very big days."

Ross said the increase in whale numbers, predicted to be a 10 percent rise this year, was partially the result of a whale baby boom as the animal continues its recovery from past decades of whaling.

"(They) are at the maximum of their reproductive capacity so they're really booming at the moment, producing lots of young," he said.

Australia is a strong opponent of whaling in the Southern Oceans and New South Wales Environment Minister Robyn Parker said had also helped grow whale numbers.

"This is a natural increase because over the years... we've improved the ," she said.

"We're very confident we're doing great things to make the water quality better and certainly make it more conducive to whales."

Whales, including minke and fin whales, come close to the coast during their northern migration.

Volunteers count the numbers of spotted from Sydney's Botany Bay during the season, and the figures have been growing between eight and 10 percent each year over the past decade.

Explore further: Japan's demand for whale meat declining

Related Stories

South Korean whale kills under-reported

May 21, 2007

A U.S. study of whale meat sold in South Korea suggests the number of whales being sold for human consumption is putting minke whales further at risk.

Levy not law will save the whales

September 6, 2010

( -- Conservationists would save more whales from the harpoon if the whale-watching public and industry were willing to pay a levy that could be used to persuade those countries currently engaged in whaling to ...

Jump in whale deaths blamed on krill, ship traffic

October 11, 2010

(AP) -- An increase in the population of a tiny crustacean and busy shipping lanes are being blamed for a jump in the number of whale deaths in Northern California waters this year.

Recommended for you

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

How cells in the developing ear 'practice' hearing

November 25, 2015

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular ...

How cells 'climb' to build fruit fly tracheas

November 25, 2015

Fruit fly windpipes are much more like human blood vessels than the entryway to human lungs. To create that intricate network, fly embryonic cells must sprout "fingers" and crawl into place. Now researchers at The Johns Hopkins ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.