ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) has announced a second Whale Migration Census Day will be held later this year due to lower than average numbers of people able to participate on June 27.
"Because of the Greater Sydney lockdown we didn't get solid data from those areas because people weren't able to participate in the count," ORRCA vice-president Jools Farrell said.
"We also had a drop in people participating in regional areas because of the restrictions and lockdown."
The second census day will be held on October 10 during the southern migration and will hopefully help the organisation gauge a better reading on humpback numbers off the coast.
"We will also hopefully see more humpbacks during the southern migration because they tend to hug the coast more with their calves and travel with escorts," Jools said.
This will be the first time ORRCA has held a census day during the southern migration.
"We have thought about it before but have always held the census day in June."
During this year's census on June 27, 2134 humpback whales were spotted cruising along the coast.
Because of the Greater Sydney lockdown we didn't get solid data from those areas because people weren't able to participate in the count.Jools Farrell
Mid North Coast official numbers from June 27:
- Port Macquarie - 316 humpbacks plus a large pod of false killer whales
- Seal Rocks - 301 humpbacks
- Hat Head - 285 humpbacks
ORRCA volunteers are confident humpback numbers are healthy, despite the count being lower than last year.
"We were anticipating it to be a bumper count this year in June, but unfortunately the lockdown did really hurt us.
"I feel that the count wasn't reflective of the number of whales that are out there."
Jools said it will be interesting to compare the two counts from this year.
"We are hoping that we will get high numbers from our census day in October when the weather is warmer and more people will be out participating," she said.
"We're really looking forward to the day and hope people will be able to participate."
ORRCA volunteers are urging members of the public to call their 24/7 rescue number on 9415 3333 if they see a whale in distress and to keep an eye out for entangled whales when out on the coast.