Important research to feature at Hervey Bay Whale Festival

PLEAE NOTE: If you are unsure whether an event is going ahead or not, please check with organisers beforehand. The current COVID-19 lockdown in parts of South East Queensland forced some events in regional Queensland to be postponed or cancelled.

humpback whale jumping over the sea
Photo by Andre Estevez on Pexels.com

RESEARCHERS and others at the forefront of whale conversation in Australia will feature at the upcoming Hervey Bay Whale Festival.

The University of the Sunshine Coast will host the Creating Waves event in partnership with Fraser Coast Tourism and Events at the university’s Fraser Coast campus on Saturday, August 7 at 6pm.

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The event will include two research-led discussions – ‘Life in the shipping lane’ and ‘Is it hot in here or is it just me’ – that will cover some of the latest studies into the challenges facing humpback whales, from boat strikes to climate change.

USC marine biologist Dr Kathy Townsend, who leads ground-breaking international research into marine conservation, will discuss ways the community can embrace the region’s important listing as a World Whale Heritage Site by the World Cetacean Alliance.

“We are currently the only destination in the world to achieve this ranking, which puts the global spotlight on our efforts to implement and celebrate responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching,” said Dr Townsend, who was recently appointed the chair of the region’s new World Whale Heritage Site Steering Committee.

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Dr Wally Franklin from the Oceania Project will outline decades of research, photographs and recordings that provided new insights into humpback whale behaviour and social organisation and helped to pioneer safe whale watching practices in Australia.

Sea Shepherd Australia crew member Cassie Smith will share stories from being on patrol with the conservation action group and facing off with illegal whalers in the Antarctic.

WATCH: Students rescue sick sea turtle off Hervey Bay

Other speakers include Dr Stephanie Stack from the Pacific Whale Foundation who will present first-hand stories behind the latest meetings of the International Whaling Commission.

Registrations are essential – click here for more details.

Meanwhile, the Hervey Bay Whale Festival kicks off on Thursday and Friday with the Song to the Ocean at Seafront Oval from 6pm on both nights.

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