2012 12 03- The Humpback Whale Research Foundation, Bermuda is established! Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Today we signed the Trust Deed establishing the Humpback Whale Research Foundation, Bermuda. The Trustees are Geoff Bell, James Gibbons and Bob Steinhoff with myself in the role of Protector.



From left to right: Greg Soares, Leah Kimberly Scott, James Gibbons from Capital G, myself, Geoff Bell, Bob Steinhoff


Our mission, through exploration of Bermuda's waters, research, data analysis and educational outreach, is to promote awareness and understanding of the humpback whales to protect their rights and by extension other cetaceans as a step towards conserving our marine environment.


Our immediate goal is to conduct another four years of intensive research effort in Bermuda waters to obtain a total over 1,000 fluke IDs by the summer of 2016.


Our overall goals are to:


-exchange technical information, scientific data, and practical experiences about humpback whales and their respective habitats, including staff exchanges, common activities such as scientific cruises, and site visits

-develop methodologies for the protection of cetaceans within marine protected areas

-development, coordination, and evaluation of research and monitoring programs and campaigns, outreach and education programs, enforcement methodology, performance assessments, and community involvement mechanisms for humpback whale research and marine protected areas

-participate in relevant regional and international initiatives that contribute to the trans-boundary protection of marine mammals and cooperation with appropriate national and international institutions and organizations in that respect

-support workshops, conferences, and other meetings sponsored by our partner organizations in other countries

-promote Bermuda’s tourism potential for responsible whale watching


Our Strategic Plan includes:

-from 2007 to 2012 the average number of days spent on the water was 22. We intend to increase this to 25-30 days per season from the end of December through to the end of May to find, photograph, record and video humpback whales in Bermuda waters

-with some 673 fluke IDs obtained in the past six years (2007-8, 2008-55, 2009-139, 2010-122, 2011-143, 2012-205) an average of 126 per season 2013-2016 is achievable.

-while 60% of ‘our' Bermuda whales have never been identified before, 40% of our fluke IDs have been successfully matched to 7,500 individuals contained in the North Atlantic Humpback Whales Catalogue and other catalogues, with some matches going back over 35 years. Continuing this matching process over the next four years will entail thousands of hours of computer analysis

-continue to raise awareness of our marine environment through public lectures, school presentations and other public speaking forums and through the use of media, video, Internet

-maintain the Humpback Whale Research Project, Bermuda website www.whalesbermuda.com

-cooperate with existing Bermuda not-for-profits with overlapping goals such as the Bermuda Zoological Society, Masterworks, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, Ocean Support Foundation, as well as whale watch operators and commercial fishermen so as to maximise our effectiveness

-evaluate progress and goals and review annual budgets each June

-fundraise to achieve the goals of the project