The Oceania Project, established in 1988, is a Not-for-profit research and information organisation dedicated to the Marine Conservation and Protection of whales, dolphins and the oceans. The major work of the project has been the Hervey bay whale research expeditions founded by Wally and Trish Franklin, who continue their involvement in whale research each year with expeditions into the waters of Hervey Bay.
The Oceania Project’s Whale Research Expeditions (1989-2013) provided a dedicated long-term marine research platform to observe and study humpback whales in Hervey Bay. This project is investigating the social and ecological significance of Hervey Bay for Group E humpback whales. Humpbacks enter and leave Hervey Bay from the north during the southern migration en-route to Antarctic feeding grounds from the breeding and over wintering areas within the Great Barrier Reef. The project involves long-term vessel based photo-id, using ventral fluke and lateral body markings for individual identification, combined with behavioural observations and focal follows of individuals and groups of humpback whales.
“It is only through consistent long-term observation and study that we can begin to unravel and understand the complex social organisation and behaviour of humpback whales and determine the social and ecological significance of Hervey Bay for the Eastern Australian humpbacks.” (Trish Franklin)
The long-term commitment of The Oceania Project is to undertake annual research expeditions to study the humpback whales in Hervey Bay and to offer involvement and participation in the annual whale research expedition through The Oceania Project’s Internship Program.