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Humpback Whale

SPECIES MANAGEMENT PROFILE

Megaptera novaeangliaeHumpback Whale

Group:Chordata (vertebrates), Mammalia (mammals), Cetacea (Whales and Dolphins), Balaenopteridae (rorquals)
Status:Threatened Species Protection Act 1995: endangered
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999: Vulnerable
Endemic
Status:
Migratory
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Humpback whales are widely distributed in all oceans and in the southern region five to six isolated groups spend the summer in Antarctic waters before migrating past the western Australian coastline to winter in warmer oceans.

​Humpback whales are characterised by their large flippers which can reach nearly one third of their total body length. The flippers are often totally or partly white in colour with scalloping, knobs and bumps on the leading edge. General body shape is well rounded then tapering to a slim head. In profile the head is very slim and almost ‘alligator-like’ in appearance, and marked by a scattering of fleshy knobs or protuberances which can extend down to the lower jaw. There are about 14 to 35 broad ventral grooves extending on the underside almost to the navel. Body colour is black or grey with white on the flippers, throat and belly. Animals can reach up to 16 m in length. Threats include direct killing (illegal in Australian waters), entanglement in nets or other water debris, collision with oceanic vessels. marine pollution leading to disease or strandings, e.g. oil spills. competition and depletion of food stocks by fisheries, especially unsustainable harvest of krill, disturbance and harassment.

Source; Bryant, S. L. and Jackson, J. (1999). Tasmania’s Threatened Fauna Handbook. Threatened Species Unit, Parks and Wildlife Service, Hobart.

A complete species management profile is not currently available for this species. Check for further information on this page and any relevant Activity Advice.

Key Points

  • Important: Is this species in your area? Do you need a permit? Ensure you’ve covered all the issues by checking the Planning Ahead page.
  • Important: Different threatened species may have different requirements. For any activity you are considering, read the Activity Advice pages for background information and important advice about managing around the needs of multiple threatened species.
  

Surveying

Key Survey reliability more info
M Peak survey period
M Potential survey period
M Non-survey period

To ensure you follow the law - check whether your survey requires a permit. Always report any new records to the Natural Values Atlas, or send the information direct to the Threatened Species Section. Refer to the Activity Advice: Surveying page for background information.

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Megaptera novaeangliae
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Humpba​ck whale
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Helping the species

Cutting or clearing trees or vegetation

Burning

Agriculture

Construction

Subdivision

Earthworks

Changing water flow / quality

Use of chemicals

Recreation

Further information

Cite as: Threatened Species Section (). (): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link. . Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania. Accessed on .

Contact details: Threatened Species Section, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, GPO Box 44, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 7001. Phone (1300 368 550).

Permit: A permit is required under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 to 'take' (which includes kill, injure, catch, damage, destroy and collect), keep, trade in or process any specimen or products of a listed species. Additional permits may also be required under other Acts or regulations to take, disturb or interfere with any form of wildlife or its products, (e.g. dens, nests, bones). This may also depend on the tenure of the land and other agreements relating to its management. ​​​​​