New Marine Mammal Research Centre

Dugong cow and calf
Dugong cow and calf (Photo: Nick Gales)

9 September 2006

Grant applications are open for the Australian Government's recently-announced national hub for marine mammal research and conservation.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the Australian Centre for Applied Marine Mammal Science (ACAMMS) housed at the Australian Government Antarctic Division would address key knowledge gaps in mammal conservation, management and policy priorities of Australia's whales, seals, dolphins and dugongs.

"The Government has allocated $2.5 million over four years to the Centre, which will harness the expertise of Australia's very best marine mammal researchers," he said. "The more we can learn about the effects of interactions between humans and marine mammals the better we will be able to protect these magnificent creatures."

The ACAMMS is the first centre of its kind in Australia. It aims to:

  • Assess the status of populations of Australia's marine mammals and their distribution, abundance and structure;
  • Determine the threats to marine mammal populations with a focus on understanding the nature and extent of interactions with humans;
  • Develop risk management and mitigation strategies for marine mammal and human interactions and test their efficacy; and
  • Develop powerful, new, non-lethal technologies and methodologies with improved methods of abundance estimation such as distance sampling, acoustic, genetics and remote sensing.

"We are keen to attract proposals that can best help us with marine mammal management," Senator Campbell said.

"The Howard Government works exceptionally hard in the international community, through its involvement in such organisations as the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), to continue to provide the necessary protection for our much-loved marine mammals."

To reflect the large-scale movements of many marine mammal species, the Australian Government funding will focus on the whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs of the Australasian region, including the waters of the Indian, Southern and South Pacific Oceans.

Full details are available through the ACAMMS website.