The establishment of Geographe Marine Research Ltd will help to bring all the findings of whale research in our area together.

Our Objectives are:

  1. To understand the global importance of the Cape Naturaliste area with respect to cetaceans (whales, dolphins) and pinnipeds (e.g. fur seals).
  2. Turn GMR into a structured organization capable of growth, delivering projects, attracting volunteers and funds.
  3. To improve and apply cutting edge technology to the identification, tracking and monitoring of whales, and the understanding of their behavior.
  4. To examine the impact of climate change and human interactions on these mammals.
  5. To expand objectives 1-4 beyond the Geographe/Cape Naturaliste area.
  6. To conduct outreach and education to convey the results of this research to the community, wildlife managers and government.
  7. To align our research program with governments national strategy for funding.

We will publish the results of this research. This will create new knowledge for a better understanding and management of these magnificent mammals. Initially we have three decades of historical data to work with. We have ambitions to continue this work into the future and expand our work potentially world wide.

In the course of undertaking this work, we are building a research institute that has the skills and experience, as well as the systems and procedures to expand our work to other areas well into the future.

Funding this work is vital. To this end GMR has obtained Deductible Gift Recipient status from the Australian Tax Office, so that gifts and donations to GMR are tax deductible. We are registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, and have a Charitable Collections license from the West Australian Government.

This work is critical to improve the management of these mammals. Already recent data provides new evidence that parts of Geographe Bay meets the criteria for classification as an aggregation area for the endangered Southern Right Whales. This work is now being prepared for publication for consideration by the Commonwealth Government when they next review their plans for the recovery of this species.

The importance of this research cannot be understated. The whale species that pass through Geographe Bay all rely on krill for their diet. Therefore they are an indicator of the health of the oceans. Any changes in the abundance of krill will affect the whales that rely on them. We cannot detect changes in the behaviour and/or numbers of whales unless we have good base line data to begin with. We need to understand the numbers, the migration patterns, the behaviour, the condition of the whales in order to protect them. A drop in numbers, or of the percentage of mothers with calves, or if we begin to see increasing numbers of malnourished whales should trigger alarm bells. It will only do this if we have the base line data.

The Blue whales and Southern Right whales are critically endangered. Their numbers were decimated by a century and a half of whaling and reduced to an estimated 1% of the original numbers. These two species are struggling to recover and we don’t yet know why.

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