Title

Population growth of Australian east coast humpback whales, observed from Cape Byron, 1998 to 2004

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Paton, D & Kniest, E 2011, 'Population growth of Australian east coast humpback whales, observed from Cape Byron, 1998 to 2004', The Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, no. Special issue 3, pp. 261-268.

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that migrate along the east coast of Australia were hunted to near extinction during the last century. This remnant population is part of Breeding Stock E. Previous abundance estimates for the east Australian portion of Breeding Stock E have been based mainly on land-based counts. Here we present a capture-recapture abundance estimate for this population using photo-identification data. These data were collected at three locations on the migration route (Byron Bay – northern migration, Hervey Bay and Ballina – southern migration) in order to estimate the population of humpback whales that migrated along the east coast of Australia in 2005. The capture-recapture data were analysed using a variety of closed population models with a model-averaged estimate of 7,041 (95% CI 4,075–10,008) whales.