Environmental science researcher Laura Bacon will help develop a system to identify Gladstone Harbour dolphins.
Environmental science researcher Laura Bacon will help develop a system to identify Gladstone Harbour dolphins.

Gladstone Harbour dolphins to be named

By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au

HOOK and Quasi are regular visitors to Gladstone's marina, but many people don't even know they exist.

They are among seven dolphins which make Gladstone Harbour their home, and regularly frolic within metres of Patsy Lee's Place lookout near Players International Nightclub.

Soon you could be able to name them by their characteristics and witness them splashing about with their offspring, all thanks to an industrious university student from England.

Laura Bacon was given funding by the Central Queensland Ports Authority to place photo identification boards with pictures of the marine mammals at three locations around the port.

'I'm in the process of naming them,' she said.

'For example there's one with a bit of a hook on his dorsal fin, so I called him Hook.

'There's also one I called Quasi, because he looks like Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

The 22-year-old said there were two immature dolphins who entered the harbour with their mothers.

'It looks like they're teaching the young ones to feed. They're getting quite big now but it's great to watch.' Ms Bacon has also been studying their feeding and behaviour patterns.

She said they regularly come to within 20 metres of the shore near Patsy Lee's Place.

As part of their degree's third year, students at Salford University in the UK have an exchange program in place, with Central Queensland University as one of the possible destinations.

'I wanted to do something on marine animals, and Gladstone has dugongs and dolphins, and there's also turtles over on Curtis Island,' Ms Bacon said.

She said she had enjoyed her time in Gladstone since arriving in October last year.

'In Salford it rains a lot and it's cold, so it's a bit of a contrast.'

Her monitoring will end in early March.

'Then I go into designing and sorting out the picture boards.'

Ms Bacon said she had been allocated preliminary sites to place the signage.

She said she hoped to place one on Spinnaker Point, one on the waterfront on Flinders Parade and one opposite the Marina Plaza.

A spokesperson for Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) said they were proud to be contributing $5000 to study on Gladstone's Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, in conjunction with CQU Gladstone's Centre for Environmental Management.

'CQPA's contribution will assist in the funding of researcher expenses, and will also cover costs associated with the provision of dolphin information boards,'' the spokesperson said.

'These boards, once complete, will serve to further inform the community about the dolphins residing within Gladstone Harbour.'

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