The marriage of industry and academia was cemented today with the launch of a new boat to be used for dolphin research by Murdoch University.
Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes launched the boat near the Rockingham Regional Environment Centre.
Mrs Edwardes said the research into dolphin feeding habits would be aided by the loan of a boat from the Orbital Engine Company.
“The engine is built to high environmental specifications with significantly reduced emissions and low fuel consumption,” she said.
“I’m happy that dolphin research will be supported by a company that’s committed to the environment.”
The Minister said Murdoch University’s research complemented research in Shark Bay.
“Dolphins and their marine environment are sensitive to the changes humans impose, so the community has a vested interest in Cockburn Sound’s dolphins,” she said.
“Depending on the time of year, there are between 120 and 200 bottle-nosed dolphins in Cockburn Sound. Seven calves were born last season.
“For that reason we need to find out more about how they use Cockburn Sound, which is Western Australia’s most heavily used marine area.”
Mrs Edwardes said it was prudent to know how dolphins were affected by private and commercial boat activities, recreational and professional fishing, and water quality.
“If we know more about dolphins’ habits we’ll be able to ensure people and industries know their responsibilities to marine life,” she said.
“I’m pleased Murdoch University has combined with industry to improve the life of these delightful creatures.”
Steve Manchee (Minister) on 9421 7777;
Gordon Wyre, Director of Nature Conservation (CALM) on 9442 0300