PORT Stephens annual dolphin census comes of age with this year marking the 18th annual census of the population.
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In 2017 73 locals participated in the census.
The event will be held on Sunday 29 July between 11-12 noon.
Everyone is welcome to participate, either from the shore or on the water.
In 2017 the event was held in early June with a total of 67 dolphins spotted by the volunteers that gave up their time to document the activity of dolphins in Port Stephens.
Pods of well known dolphins such as Smoky and his alliance of three male dolphins were spotted near Wayne’s Bar with around 14 other dolphins, including another alliance of three males known as Ben’s alliance.
20 dolphins were also spotted near Yacaaba Headland and another eight off Kingsley Beach during last years’ census.
This year the census will take advantage of the volunteers to add to the tally taking in turtles spotted.
Frank Future of Imagine Cruises and environmental advocate for the port told news of The Area, “Adding the count of turtles spotted to the census makes sense.”
He believes that we need to be doing more for the turtle population in the Bay.
“At present sick and injured turtles need to be transported to Taronga Zoo and often they do not survive the journey,” he said.
A second ongoing ongoing population study is being conducted by the Marine Parks Association using photo identification of dolphins, it has observed 275 individuals, with 201 individuals sighted in the last 12 months.
Around 137 individual dolphins are sighted within pods at the Bay.
You can register to participate in the 2018 Dolphin Census at www.marineparksassociation.org.au/dolphin-census
By Marian SAMPSON