Thursday, June 27, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Whaley Informative Evening

Did you know that the Whitsundays was officially designated as a Whale Heritage Area on 25 March 2024? On Wednesday 19th June, an excited group of individuals met up at the Whitsunday’s Sailing Club for a whale information night, hosted by Whales of the Whitsundays (WoW) a community group concerned about the health and future of cetaceans in our region.
WoW organised for special guest speakers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to come and share their knowledge. The speakers updated guests about how to record sightings and identify trends in the citizen science program Eye on the Reef, alongside providing knowledge on the unique rules and regulations within the Whitsundays Whale Protection Area. The night also included fun facts and tips for education and interpretation during the whale season.
Crystal Lacey, manager of the Master Reef Guide Program, commented on how the event was “mainly targeted at the tourism industry”, including, “masters, frontline crew, local bodies” and anyone else who is “always out on the water”.
Crystal explained how the event was designed to inform attendees of what “the unique rules and regulations are within the Whitsundays”.
The regulations are “slightly different to everywhere else in the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.
Crystal also added how the information night would provide more of an understanding of Whales' characteristics as “humpbacks are quite aerobatic animals”.
Chair of the Whales of Whitsunday Steering Committee, Olivia Brodhurst, expressed her excitement towards “circling back with everybody since last year's event”.
“We don’t have a university or conferences, so we get experts to come down once a year and do this for us”.
“People get to hear straight from the horse’s mouth about all their eye on the reef data, and the science everyone contributes to all year round”, Olivia added.
Chris Jones, Eye on the Reef Program manager, expressed similar excitement towards the evening.
“Unlike 90% of citizen science projects that go to a person, a PHD project or a university, this is going to managing the reef, making decisions, the data goes to the decision makers”.
“The fact that all of it's been designed to be done by the community creates that beautiful connection, you are part of management, you're not standing aloof from it.” Chris continued.
The Whitsundays is recognised as a critically important mating and birthing ground for the Eastern Australian Humpback Whales, so information nights on these animals are vital to ensure everyone working around them are up to date with the rules and regulations for these fin-tastic animals.
The speakers at the Whales of the Whitsunday Information Night enthused over their newly launched website, which includes resources for anyone interested in furthering their knowledge:

In other news