Murdoch University dolphin research widely reported

November 15, 2009

Murdoch University dolphin research widely reportedResearch by Murdoch University scientists on the Swan River dolphin deaths has been widely reported in the media.

Following the ABC TV News and Stateline stories on November 13, every major Perth TV station ran stories on the dolphin research and issue on November 14.

ABC TV led its news bulletin with the story and posted both the news video and Stateline report online (see In addition, Murdoch biologist Dr Hugh Finn was also interviewed on Channels 7, 9 and 10.

Online, has a comprehensive article on the research facts provided by Murdoch University, and has also highlighted the findings. Both The West and Sunday Times have carried stories and national media have also now contacted Murdoch for information on the dolphins' plight.

In a statement to journalists, Murdoch biologist Dr Hugh Finn said the first priority is to improve understanding of the factors contributing to the six Swan River dolphin mortalities this year.

He said the investigation is a collaborative undertaking with managers, personnel, scientists from Swan River Trust, Department of Environment and Conservation, Murdoch and Curtin universities, along with collaborators in Western Australia and around the country, and also internationally.

“In the long-term, perhaps the best way to help dolphins in the Swan River is to continue working towards a healthy and sustainable ecosystem by reducing nutrient inputs, supporting efforts to revegetate catchment and river-edge areas, and manage drains and other sources which introduce nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) and contaminants to the estuary,” Dr Finn said.

“Everyone can play a role in reducing the input of nutrients and waste into the Swan River, participating in river clean-up programs and the Swan River Trust’s Dolphin Watch program, and by avoiding any disturbance to dolphins by leaving them alone, and not feeding them.

“Entanglement in discarded/lost monofilament fishing line is a long-term problem for dolphins that causes injury and mortality and increases risk of infection, particularly in calves.

“Entanglement is an issue that can be managed through better disposal of fishing line and the use of biodegradable fishing line.”

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Media contact: Jo Manning
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