3073. Hon Alison Xamon to the Minister for Environment:
I refer to the answer to my question on notice 2766 regarding the food provisioning program at Monkey Mia and the Minister’s response that ‘The provisioning program has not been shown to impact the life expectancy of adult provisioned dolphins or present an impact to the broader Shark Bay dolphin population’, and I ask: will the Minister please provide information about the life expectancy and health impacts on the calves of provisioned adults?
Hon Stephen Dawson replied:
I am advised that since the changes to provisioning at Monkey Mia were initiated in 1994, calf survival rate of provisioned dolphins at Monkey Mia has remained at 70 per cent for the period 1995–2020. This is higher than the 67 per cent reported for non-provisioned dolphins in the wider Shark Bay area.
Following the marine heatwave in 2011 and extensive loss of seagrass habitat in the area, reproductive success, including measures of calf survival, has declined slightly for all dolphins in the wider Shark Bay area, regardless of provisioning status.