The Marine chapter of the 2016 State of the Environment (SoE) report incorporates multiple expert templates developed from
streams of marine data. This metadata record describes the Expert Assessment "The state and trends of quality of species
and groups – whales". The full Expert Assessment, including figures and tables (where provided), is attached to this record.
Where available, the Data Stream(s) used to generate this Expert Assessment are accessible through the "On-line Resources"
section of this record.
DESCRIPTION OF TAXONOMIC GROUP FOR EXPERT ASSESSMENT
A total of 24 species of whales (two of which comprise two subspecies) have been documented from Australian waters with
a further one (Omura’s whale) likely to occur, but yet to be definitively confirmed. A number of these species (e.g. sperm
whale) are distributed nationally, others are restricted to particular latitudes (e.g. Bryde’s whale) and others consist
of populations that only seasonally utilise Australian waters (e.g. some of the baleen whale species).
DATA STREAM(S) USED IN EXPERT ASSESSMENT
This assessment is based on peer-review papers and reports provided by a series of researchers working on whales in Australia.
Details on the specific data products used in this assessment have not been provided.
2016 SOE ASSESSMENT SUMMARY [see attached Expert Assessment for full details]
• 2016 •
Assessment grade: Good
Assessment trend: Unclear
Confidence grade: Limited evidence or limited consensus
Confidence trend: Limited evidence or limited consensus
Comparability: Grade and trend are somewhat comparable to the 2011 assessment
• 2011 • Baleen whales
Assessment grade: Poor
Assessment trend: Stable
Confidence grade & trend: Limited evidence or limited consensus
• 2011 • Humpback whales
Assessment trend: Increasing
• 2011 • Toothed whales
CHANGES SINCE 2011 SOE ASSESSMENT
The 2011 assessment was split across three categories. Given the lack of data on status and trends for most species it was
considered more appropriate to provide one assessment, highlighting the increasing trends for humpback and southern right
whales. Anecdotal information suggests that populations of most whales are stable and so it was considered more appropriate
to assign status as good. With very little information on most species abundances, limited evidence of any change in
populations and no long-term monitoring of populations with which clear trends could be determined, trend was identified
as ‘unclear’ rather than ‘stable’.
Bannister, J. L. (2014). Monitoring population dynamics of right whales off southern Australia. Final report to the Australian
Marine Mammal Centre, The Western Australian Museum.
Bejder, M., et al. (2015). "Embracing conservation success of recovering humpback whale populations: Evaluating the case
for downlisting their conservation status in Australia." Marine Policy 66: 137-141.
Carroll, G., et al. (2014). “No evidence for recovery in the population of sperm whale bulls off Wewstern Australia, 30
years post-whaling.” Endangered Species Research 24: 33-43.
IWC (2012). Report of the workshop on southern right whales. 64th International Whaling Commission Scientic Committee meeting,
Panama City, Panama, 11 - 22 June 2012.
Noad, M. J., et al. (2011). Abundance estimates of the east Australian humpback population: 2010 survey and update. 63rd
meeting of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, Tromsø, Norway, 30 May - 11 June 2011.
Noad, M. J., et al. (2011). “Absolute and relative abundance estimates of Australian east coast humpback whales (Megaptera
novaeangliae).” Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 3: 243-252.
Salgado Kent, C., et al. (2012). "Southern Hemisphere breeding stock D humpback whale population estimates from North West
Cape, Western Australia." Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 12(1): 29-38.
QUALITY OF DATA USED IN THE ASSESSMENT
Data used to determine state and trend are based on systematic surveys for the relevant species. Methods and associated
quality of data produced by those surveys are detailed in the publications provided in the reference list.
CUSTODIAN AND LOCATION OF DATA
Data has been used from individual peer-review papers and reports (details of the specific data products used in this assessment
have not been provided).
METHOD USED TO DETERMINE STATE OR RECENT TREND
Methods associated with the systematic surveys used to produce abundance estimates for the relevant species are detailed
in the publications provided in the reference list ("Supplementary information").
When citing this Expert Assessment in a list of references use the following format:
citation author name/s (year metadata published), metadata title. Citation author organisation/s. File identifier and Data
accessed at (add http link).