ROAD TO RECOVERY: CSIRO research suggest humpback whale numbers could fully recover by 2050.
ROAD TO RECOVERY: CSIRO research suggest humpback whale numbers could fully recover by 2050. Diego Cotterle

Humpback numbers could fully recover by 2050

CSIRO research suggests humpback whale numbers could fully recover by 2050.

Findings from CSIRO and UQ research, which looked at the interaction of historical whaling, food availability and future climate change, have predicted whale numbers to the year 2100.

University of Queensland and CSIRO PhD student Viv Tulloch said this was the first time this approach to predict numbers of southern hemisphere whale numbers had been used by researchers.

"We predict that Antarctic blue, southern right and fin whales will be at less than half their pre-exploitation numbers by 2100 because of slow growth rates and heavy historical whaling," Ms Tulloch said.

"Although humpbacks are currently at 33% of their pre-whaling numbers, we predict they will make a full recovery by 2050."

Southern right whales were reported to have declined to 300 before anti-whaling laws were established.

They raise one calf every two to three years compared to humpbacks which typically raise one calf a year.


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