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Encounter bay

right whale study


"Connecting the community, scientists and managers for Southern Right Whale protection, conservation and education"




encounter bay, south australia


Encounter Bay is listed as an 'emerging' calving aggregation area for southern right whales under the National Conservation Management Plan for the Southern Right Whale 2011-2021. An emerging status assumes less than 3 calves are born at or near Encounter Bay each year.

Our data suggests an average of more than 3 calves per year are born in the Encounter Bay area, potentially suggesting an upgrade in status from and 'emerging' to an 'established' aggregation area and making Encounter Bay a critical area for protection and recovery of the species.





The Encounter Bay Right Whale Study (EBRWS) is a citizen science program designed to address research priorities that will inform conservation management and protection of the local southern right whales (SRW) by:

  • Establishing a local Encounter Bay (EB) photo-identification catalogue.

  • Contributing data to national SRW assessments.

  • Investigating abundance, residency, distribution and movements of SRW in the EB area.

  • Assessing the connectivity and movement of SRW from EB with the other calving/aggregation areas across South Australia.

                                                hOW TO CONTRIBUTE

None of this work is possible without photographic evidence and clear sightings information. As a citizen science research study we are looking to the public to collect and provide good data.

Photo-identification is a very important tool for assessing abundance, distribution, site use, residency, calving and migration rates, age of sexual maturity, survival and mortality.

The goal is to get clear photos of the top and both sides of the whale's head.

See examples below:

   Example 1 (Right Side)                    Example 2 (Left Side)                        Example 3 (Top)

If you think you have good identifying photos of a whale, please get in touch with the EBRWS team and email

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