HHR April-June Newsletter 2016
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Humpbacks & High-Rises

Whale Tails 2016/2

This is our quarterly newsletter bringing you a summary of the urban marine mammal world. Facts, Stories and Events. Join us on the largest mammal migration on earth!

Quarter Summary April-June 2016
Whale migration in full swing

What a start. The whale season started earlier than last year with the first sighting confirmed in the first week of May. The first whale was sighted on the 7th May in the  Gold Coast bay.

We presented our work during Green Week at Marina Mirage markets. There was not much interest by local visitors but we stayed enthusiasts and energetic throughout the morning. This event was followed by World Oceans Day on the 8th June when HHR supported an initiative to collect cigarette butts from local beaches. The efforts made were featured in the local news such as ABC radio

New Zealand fur seals wash up on Gold Coast beaches on the 20th June after a stormy weather event. Their occurrence in our waters is not rare at all. However, the strong winds and heavy rainfalls in June are and have led to some increase in mortality and incidents.

Whale surveys on North Straddie were run in early June supported by Earthwatch and our annual surveys started on the 5th June with over 50 standing volunteers and 150 registered volunteers we are strong citizen science community after only 5 years since HHR was founded by Olaf

The first new born calf of the season was sighted on 28th June just a few kilometers from Surfers Paradise. With weather conditions calming and number of calves increasing the first whale entanglement came soon. On the 10th July a calf was entangled and later freed. These events are predictable and are not accidents. They can be stopped. Sign this open letter.
Exciting Minke Whale Sighting

For the first time dwarf Minke whales with a new born calf were sighted in nearshore Gold Coast waters. The animals usually migrate further offshore but might have come close to shore because of the new born calf. Little is known about dwarf Minke whales which are the smaller cousins of the Antarctic Minke Whales. Their migration pattern and feeding in Antarctic waters on krill is similar to humpback whales. Their patterns can be used to identify individuals. Surveys on Minke whales are usually undertaking further north near Cairns. Swimming with Minke whales can be unique experience.
Marine Plastic

A beach clean up as part of Clean up Australia organized by HHR and the cigarette butt clean up for Wolrd Oceans Day revealed the shocking truth about marine pollution. On a last year expedition led by Dr Olaf microplsatic were found in almost all surface plankton casts along the coast of Queensland. Micro plastic is long lasting and finds its way into the food chain eventually consumed by us who are causing the pollution. A recent article on the research outcomes can be read here
Research Outputs and Science Alert

HHR research was featured three times at the annual NZMSS/AMSA conference in Wellington as part of the iconic-marine life Symposium organised by Dr Olaf. Other presentation of HHR supported research were made in France and Brisbane. HHR council member Josh also presented his research at the local coastal symposium at Griffith University in June. Recent research outputs: 

Meynecke, J.O., Richards, R., Sahin, O. (2016). Adapting whale watching to climate change - a case study from the east coast of Australia. Oral presentation at the Adaptation Futures conference, 10th-13th May, Rotterdam, N
Reinke, J., Franklin, T., Franklin, W., Meynecke, J.-O., Lemckert, C. (2016). Environmental preferences of humpback whales in Hervey Bay, Australia: an important resting area. Oral presentation at NZMSS/AMSA conference 4th-7th July, Wellington, New Zealand.
Torre-Williams, L., Meynecke, J.-O., Martinez, E., Stockin, K.A. (2016). The role of on-board education in the whale watch industry - A case study from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Oral presentation at NZMSS/AMSA conference 4th-7th July, Wellington, New Zealand.
Meynecke, J.-O. (2016). Variations of sea conditions along the east coast of North Island, New Zealand linked to dolphin presence. Oral presentation at NZMSS/AMSA conference 4th-7th July, Wellington, New Zealand.
Meynecke, J.-O., Richards, R., Sahin, O. (2016). Dealing with uncertainty: an innovative method to address climate change adaptation in the whale watch industry. Oral presentation at the 8th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software 10th-14th July, Toulouse, France.
Meynecke, J.-O., Sullivan, C., Carroll, A., Stevens, T. (2016). Monitoring cetaceans in nearshore coastal waters using hydrophones. Oral presentation at Society for Conservation Biology Oceania 5th-8th July, Brisbane, Australia.

A recent article about HHR in the magazine Boat Gold Coast article 

Our next training seminar for whale surveys will be held Thursday 21st July at G05 1.33 starting 6pm until 730pm. If you have not done one yet and want to help us count whales or if you are still needing a HHR Shirt - this event is for you. 

Come to our SEA PARTY 7pm August 13th. This is our annual marine life awareness raiser with short talks on marine life, awesome prices to win, food and drinks.  $5 ticket includes entry, tickets and HHR membership. If you can help us running the event contact Denise.
Hydrophone needed

We need a small hydrophone for educational purposes to show people how amazing whale sound sounds. And of course to teach everyone how to speak "whale". Cost: 240 AUD. Please, help and donate and share at

HHR relies on the interest, support and good will of people who feel that protecting marine mammals and learning about them is important. We are honest, independent and stand for the well being of our natural wonders and a sustainable whale watching industry. Our ongoing work entirely depends on donation. Please, consider donating for whale research and protection.


You can support whale protection and research in south-east Queensland; a small donation goes a long way.


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Humpbacks & High-Rises Inc · Post Office Mail Box 195 · Gold Coast, Queensland 4222 · Australia

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