Humpback Whale Research

The Department of Environment and Heritage in conjunction with other research organisations continues to study humpbacks to learn more of the fascinating ecology of these marine giants.


The undersides of a whale’s tail (its fluke) can identity individuals. Like human fingerprints all flukes are slightly different, They vary in colour pattern and shape. The best opportunity to take photos is at the beginning of a whale’s dive when its fluke
is raised in the air, exposing its ventral surface. Humpbacks in the Southern Hemisphere can also be identified by their lateral body coloration.
If possible, please send photos of these to the Department of Environment
and Heritage office in Maryborough.

For further information contact:


The District Ranger
Department of Environment and Heritage
Wharf and Richmond Streets
PO Box 101
MARYBOROUGH OLD 4650

(07) 4123 7100

or your nearest DEH office.

A Growing Population Humpback Whale Research

There is believed to be approximately 2,000 humpback whales now on the migration path past Hervey Bay and it is encouraging to see this number edge up every year.

The whales commence entering the Hervey Bay Marine Park in late July or early August and continue until early November. The humpbacks entering the Marine Park seem to be taking time out from their migration back to Antarctica and they appear to be relaxed and playful in the calm sheltered waters of Hervey Bay. This makes Hervey Bay one of the best places in the world to see the humpback whales.

There are 19 vessels permitted to operate commercial whale watch tours. They operate under strict guidelines from the Department of Environment to ensure the least amount of impact on the whales and the sustainability of the industry.



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