New app designed for the public to help marine scientists track whale species along the WA coastline

Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
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Whale watching off Middleton Beach.
Camera IconWhale watching off Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Whale watchers can now double as citizen scientists with the launch of a new marine fauna sightings app helping track the mammals along the WA coastline.

A collaboration between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Whale Sightings WA has been designed to allow all water users to digitally submit sightings of whales.

DPIRD senior research scientist Jason How, who oversees the app, encouraged people in the Great Southern to get involved.

“Getting information on whales along the south coast is harder as it’s not as densely populated — it’s really valuable information for us so if people can go out and log sightings of where they’re seeing whales,” he said.

The app provides information to help people identify species and learn about them, as well as allowing spotters to fill out surveys about their encounters.

“It’s really about us capturing information about where we are seeing these marine fauna species,” Mr How said.

“My particular interest is whales, so humpback whales and southern right whales in WA and as they’re becoming entangled in commercial and recreational fishing gear.

“We’re trying to get a better understanding of where whales are and when so we can implement more effective targeting management actions to reduce those entanglements.”

To download the app, search for Marine Fauna Sightings.

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