The Two Bays Whale Project is a new citizen science initiative designed in 2015 to formalise what has previously been the informal but mostly robust recording of sightings of large cetacean species within Port Phillip, Western Port and adjacent waters (Barwon Heads to Inverloch). The current data set dates back to 2000 with some supplementary sightings from previous years back to 1984.
This project will have the capability to provide a repository for fin, fluke (humpback), lateral jaw line and callosities (southern right) photographic identification imagery. The image repository will be a resource for existing identification catalogues e.g. Victorian southern right whale catalogue (held by Mandy Watson) and Victorian humpback whale catalogue (held by David Donnelly, DRI’s Research Officer).
The key species for this citizen science project will be humpback and southern right whales but may also include other species such as killer, minke and blue whales.
The launch of the project coincides with the Queen’s birthday weekend which has long been referred to as ‘Whale Weekend’, as historically this time typically reflects the beginning of the Victorian whale season.
A facebook page has been set up for the project: www.facebook.com/twobayswhales . Sightings can be reported via the facebook page or to 0487 745 066.