Preamble<br /><ul><li> Like Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast, Norfolk Island (on approximately the same latitude) had a history of commercial whaling until the early 1960s.
During the period from 1956 until the commencement of the NIWS in 2003 no whale research occurred on NI. In recent years, cetacean research has increased significantly throughout the SW Pacific .
Results of survey work we were involved with which had been conducted at Cape Byron over many years suggested that humpback whales migrating along that corridor were recovering at a rate of approximately 10% per annum.
Only a few years of research by the NIWS including information gathered from the people of NI, revealed that a significant recovery rate of humpbacks migrating past NI (E2 stock) was clearly not occurring.
As dedicated experienced researchers were active both on NI and the east coast of Australia the results were not called into question.
Furthermore, researchers were also on a fact finding mission in Fiji in 2004. The latter area also showed a lack of recovery to humpback whale numbers.
Conclusions<br /><ul><li> It is undeniable that the numbers of humpback whales migrating past NI (as with those that migrate along some other SW Pacific corridors) have not recovered to anywhere near the numbers that existed in pre-whaling days.
As whaling ceased on Australia’s east coast and NI in 1962, humpback whales have had nearly half a century to recover at NI.
This photograph is an example of what was observed on two consecutive days to the northeast of Norfolk Island<br />Note: this image captured on 6 September 2010 in Monterey County California <br />http://www.flickr.com/photos/weboutput/4965686071/<br />