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Whale event to create waves with powerful messages

27 Jul 2021

First-hand insights from USC researchers and others on the front line of whale conservation and research in Australia will be presented at a free public event  as part of the Hervey Bay Whale Festival.

USC will host the event – a ‘Creating Waves’ forum – from 6pm on Saturday 7 August at its Fraser Coast campus in partnership with festival organisers Fraser Coast Tourism and Events.

It 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 through 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.

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.

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. To register and for more details, visit herveybaywhalefestival.com.au

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