The waters around Tasmania support a huge diversity of whales and dolphins (cetaceans), with approximately 40 species identified to date. Dolphins are regularly observed in Tasmania’s sheltered waterways, and humpback and southern right whales are a frequent sight as they travel close to the coast during their annual migration.
Conservation and management
The Marine Conservation Program undertakes a range of cetacean monitoring projects. Monitoring the population trends, habitat use and behavior of whales and dolphins in Tasmania enables us to identify factors that influence their abundance and survival and, where possible, develop effective methods to improve their conservation status.
Thankfully, many cetacean species are recovering following past exploitation, however they remain vulnerable to a range of threats. Of particular concern is the nature and frequency of interactions between cetaceans and human activities, factors that are constantly changing as many whale populations continue to recover from historical exploitation and their marine habitat is subjected to unprecedented anthropogenic pressures.
Continuing to document and understand changes, and the factors influencing these, is an important focus for the program. Work in this area will assist in predicting future management and conservation challenges, and therefore guide planning for the MCP to ensure our response capacity remains at a high level into the future.
Reporting whale and dolphin sightings
Interest and awareness of whales and dolphins continues to grow in Tasmania and engagement with the public is critical to the success of the program. Real-time reporting of cetacean sightings and injured or entangled marine mammals contributes important information to long-term monitoring of threatened species and facilitates rapid response to incidents.
Please report sightings of whales and dolphins in Tasmanian waters to the Whale Hotline (0427 WHALES). Regular updates and further information can be found on Facebook at