A marine park will be formed at Camden Sound, Australia, in an effort to protect the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Once hunted to the brink of extinction, the humpbacks have already bounced back considerably thanks to conservation efforts and they are now much sought after by whale-watchers, particularly off parts of Australia, Canada, and the United States.

humpback whale Australia forms marine park to protect humpback calving zone

The Government recognises the Kimberley as one of Australia’s special places,” said Premier Colin Barnett as he unveiled the plans for the park. “That is why we are protecting Camden Sound, making it a marine park, and developing and implementing our Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy. This strategy will balance the need to develop industry and create wealth with the expectation that the environment and special places will be protected. This remarkable area warrants protection as a first step in the broader conservation of the Kimberley.”

Environment Minister Donna Faragher added that Camden Sound is the largest calving area for humpbacks in the southern hemisphere.

More than 1000 humpback whales can be found in the Camden Sound ‘maternity ward’ during the calving season,” Faragher said. They are part of the biggest population of humpback whales in the world – numbering about 22,000 – that migrate from Antarctica every year to give birth in the waters off the north of our State.”

Faragher said the park will be created in consultation with the local indigenous community and all stakeholders with an interest in the area.

Allowing for consultation, including a public comment period of three months, a marine park could be established as early as mid-2010.

Camden Sound

Camden Sound is a bay in the Indian Ocean situated in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The sound is a highly bio-diverse region; home to animals such as dugongs, crocodiles, sea-snakes, sharks, rays, and three species of sea turtle. Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins, Bottle-nosed dolphins, and the newly recognized Snub-fin dolphin can all be found within the borders of the proposed marine park. The sound is also visited by several species of whale, including False Killer whale, Bryde’s whale, Minke whale, and Dwarf Sperm whale. The corals reefs in the region are still fairly unharmed and varied the extensive mangrove forests found along the shores acts as nursery areas for fish and invertebrates.

Humpback whales born in Camden Sound stay there for several months after birth to grow big and strong enough to survive the long journey to the chilly Arctic waters where the humpbacks feed during the summer.