Fin Review | Dolphins of the Cut

Dawesville channel, referred to as the Cut, is a man-made opening between the Peel-Harvey Estuary and the Indian Ocean.

The Cut was opened in 1994 to improve the estuary’s health by letting sea water flush in and out with the tides.

The Cut appears to be an important area for the dolphins, both those spending majority of their time in the Peel-Harvey and those that we have observed in the coastal areas.

Since our research began in January 2016 we have seen 31 groups and about 50 individual dolphins in the Cut, and followed many more in as they move between the estuary or ocean.

Often groups were very large, with about 30 dolphins, and the group composition and size changes frequently with dolphins arriving and departing.

We have seen mothers with their newborn calves as well as suspected males and the occasional juvenile.

The dolphins come to the Cut to rest, forage, often against the rock walls, and socialize.

We suspect the Cut is one of the central areas where the coastal and Peel-Harvey dolphins mix with each other.

As we continue to share this space with the dolphins, remember to slow down when you see them.

The Mandurah Dolphin Research Project is a partnership between Murdoch University, City of Mandurah and Mandurah Cruises that commenced in January 2016.

They are measuring how many dolphins use the Peel-Harvey waterways and how they are connected to dolphins in nearby coastal waters.

You can follow the project on Facebook or through this fortnightly column.

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