The Courier-Mail

WHALES IN RECORD NUMBERS

- LUKE MORTIMER

MORE humpback whales than ever were spotted cruising by the Gold Coast on their annual migration as the marine mammal’s population bounces back to prewhaling numbers.

Humpbacks and Highrises has recorded its most successful year for sightings since it was founded by Griffith University marine biologist and surfer Dr Olaf Meynecke in 2010.

This year, the group spent 730 hours observing and recording informatio­n on 2479 whales, according to its annual report.

It was the most whales recorded between Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast since the start of the group’s surveying a decade ago, although more volunteers have signed up.

“Before the start of this 2020 whale season we, like everyone else, were hit by COVID-19 restrictio­ns, and it was unknown if and how we were going to survey at all this season,” Griffith University research assistant and whale researcher Dr Karlien Paas said. “We started planning for an alternativ­e season, which would focus on land-based surveys.

“Fortunatel­y for us, the restrictio­ns were lifted in time, so we could start our whale season on Burleigh Hill.”

The group surveyed 767 humpback whales in the 2019 season and 675 in 2018.

 ??  ?? A whale breaches off Surfers Paradise. Picture: Whales in Paradise
A whale breaches off Surfers Paradise. Picture: Whales in Paradise

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