GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
(Whale or Dolphin Protection) Special Management Areas are in effect for important areas, such as the Whitsundays. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006 (Qld) continue to provide for complementary protection. A national recovery plan for humpback whales remains in effect across the nation. In addition to legislation, a range of policies provide additional guidance and strategic direction to management operations. These include: Action Plan for Australian Cetaceans; Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching 2005; Operational Policy on Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 2007; and Great Barrier Reef Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2013. Knowledge and understanding about humpback whales continues to increase through a variety of actions including: • Marine Wildlife Strandings program • Australian Marine Mammal Centre, which coordinates Australia’s marine mammal research expertise to provide scientific research and advice to underpin Australia’s marine mammal conservation and policy initiatives • the Sightings Network component of Eye on the Reef where humpback whale observations by community members and others are collected • annual population surveys of the east Australian humpback whale population. Evidence for recovery Annual recovery rates of the east Australian humpback whale stock have been estimated at between 10.5 and 12.3 per cent per year.150 A survey in 2010 provides no evidence that the rate of population growth is slowing significantly and the re-estimation from these surveys sets growth between 10.5 and 11.3 per cent per year.151 Assuming an average population growth trend of 11 per cent, it is calculated the population in 2013 was approximately 17,000 (Figure 8.3).
Humpback whales continue to show good recovery.
Figure 8.3. Recovery of the east Australian humpback whale population, 1981–2013
The east Australian humpback whale population (E1 stock) continues to strongly recover since whaling ceased in the 1960s. The 2013 data point is an estimate calculated using published population growth rate information151. Source: Adapted from Humpback whale rolling near the surface
Noad et al. 2008150, Noad et al. 2011151, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority 2009152
8.4 Heritage resilience
Resilience is a concept yet to be widely applied in Australian heritage management.153 The Australia State of Environment Report 2011153 provides a broad-ranging assessment of the resilience of Australia’s heritage. The following discussion is principally derived from that report.
8.4.1 Understanding heritage resilience
Broadly, heritage resilience is the ability of a heritage place, structure or value to experience impacts or disturbances while retaining the inherent heritage values for which it has been recognised. The Region’s heritage is susceptible to changes brought about by impacts from a range of sources. Its resilience can be considered in relation to both individual heritage values and the total heritage resource. The ability of individual places or the wider resource to withstand impacts depends on the nature of specific heritage values and their tolerance to change. For example, the resilience of a large geomorphological