Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) and Griffith University’s Southern Ocean Persistent Organic Pollutants Program (SOPOPP) are working together to collect valuable data on humpback whales in Moreton Bay.
The data will be used to help inform a strategy led by the Commonwealth Government that is examining the interaction of humpback whales and shipping vessels in port areas all around the country, as numbers of both increase.
PBPL CEO, Roy Cummins, said the pilot project was the first of its kind to be undertaken in Moreton Bay.
“Moreton Bay is one of the region’s most spectacular environmental assets and it’s essential we support its sustainable use, both in terms of its marine life as well as its important commercial role,” he said.
“Working with together with Griffith University means we can gather data that simply hasn’t been available for Moreton Bay before – independent mapping data on whale numbers and movements during the migration season, overlaid onto commercial shipping data.
“For the Port, it will also help inform our own environmental management strategies to help mitigate against potential interaction with commercial vessels in the port’s navigational channel.
SOPOPP Project Leader, Associate Professor Susan Bengtson Nash, said “this project will help to address a risk, recognized by the International Whaling Commission as a global priority, at the regional scale. Our partnership with Port of Brisbane Pty. Ltd. is facilitating acquisition of much-needed data regarding the use of Moreton Bay by migrating whales, and very much demonstrates the Port’s approach to environmental research and sustainable commercial use of the region.”
Mr Cummins said, “One of our key priorities is to ensure we develop the port in an environmentally sustainable manner, and we already have an extensive research and monitoring program in place to ensure this.
“While every year around 2500 commercial ships visit the Port, there are thousands of recreational boaties and other vessels who also enjoy the Bay all year around. We hope this research will also benefit the community by raising even greater awareness about the Bay’s important dual ecological and economic roles, and to ensure we can help preserve it for all to enjoy.”
The work will involve SOPOPP collecting data in Moreton Bay at the start and end of the migration season, and overlaying it onto commercial shipping data. The pilot project will be completed in early 2018.
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