The state government of Western Australia is creating a marine park to protect and manage a key nursery of the world’s largest humpback whale population.

The marine park is to be at Camden Sound, about 400km north of Broome, protecting its pristine marine environment for generations to come.

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

Environment Minister Donna Faragher said Camden Sound was the biggest calving area for humpback whales in the southern hemisphere.

“More than 1,000 humpback whales can be found in the Camden Sound ‘maternity ward’ during the calving season,” she said.

Mrs Faragher added “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.

“Camden Sound is also rich in other marine life, from coral reefs and mangrove forests to turtles and dugongs.

Humpbacks have been protected from whaling in the southern hemisphere since 1963, when numbers in Western Australia fell to fewer than a thousand. Their numbers are recovering at a remarkable 10 per cent each year.

Found in oceans around the world, humpback whales typically migrate up to 25,000 kilometres each year. They feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to warmer waters to breed and give birth in the winter. During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves.

Further Reading:
Scientists discover massive humpback whale nursery off WA coast

What do you think of this news item? Join a discussion.