Australia's extensive coastline provides a wide range of aquatic habitats. Consequently, at least 45 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise are found in Australian waters, including 10 large whales, 20 smaller whales.
Two species of whales are listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act - the blue whale and the southern right whale.
We love to watch these majestic mammals as they migrate through our waters every year.
Growing evidence shows thriving populations of whales are also essential to a healthy ocean and planet. The benefits they provide – from capturing carbon to enhancing marine productivity – only strengthen the case for protecting them.
Whales fertilise the marine ecosystems they move through and support the marine life inhabiting them. By feeding at depth and defecating at surface, whales boost phytoplankton production, which captures about 40% of all carbon dioxide produced and generates over half of the atmosphere’s oxygen.
When they die, whales sink to the seabed, taking the huge amounts of carbon they’ve accumulated in their bodies out of the atmosphere for centuries. Altogether, over its lifetime, one whale captures the same amount of carbon as thousands of trees.
This contribution to ocean productivity benefits nature, people and their livelihoods, and major global industries.
By restoring whale populations, we can help restore ocean ecosystems and mitigate and build resilience to climate change - helping nature help itself and all of us who depend on it.