The 2019 World Whale Conference, 8-11 October 2019, hosted in Hervey Bay, Australia, will focus on the theme of 'Journeys that Inspire Change.' Topics will include:

  1. Understanding whale migrations and their significance for marine conservation
  2. Promoting sustainable whale and dolphin tourism for tourists and local communities
  3. Exploring our cultural and artistic connections with migrating whales
  4. Maximising the power of cetaceans to inspire positive human behaviour change to protect our oceans

Each day (except Thursday Community Day) will begin with a keynote speaker,  followed by a morning presentation session. Presentations will be short, with time for questions to ensure the sessions are lively and engaging.

Afternoon sessions will start with a ‘Poster and Networking’ event. Posters on the ‘topic of the day’ will be presented and presenters will also be available to talk with delegates throughout the session. Late afternoon sessions will incorporate a workshop involving interactive learning.

The theme for each day will be linked to an award given on the final day of the conference. Presentations / poster presentations can be entered for an award. For example, presentations and poster presentations on the ‘Towards Responsible Tourism for Whales and Dolphins’ day will be entered for the ‘Responsible Whale and Dolphin Tourism’ award.  

Art contributions will be displayed physically or on the main conference screen during intervals throughout the conference program.

'Please note that the program is still under development and may change.'

Conference Agenda



Opportunity to head out whale watching with the Hervey Bay fleet!

Late Afternoon



TUESDAY 8 October WWC Day 1

Journeys That Inspire Change


8:30 – 9:00 Registration - Tea / Coffee on arrival

9:00 – 10:00 Launch conference, Official Butchulla Welcome to Country

10:00 – 10:45 Keynote speaker (TBA)

10:45 – 11:15 Morning Tea/Coffee Break

11:15 – 13:00 Short talks from researchers, educators, conservationists, campaigners, community leaders and other stakeholders on how cetaceans have inspired their personal journeys and encouraged people to act to protect them

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch



14:00 – 15:00 Poster presentations and networking session

(including candidates for WCA ‘Inspiring Change Award’ and ‘Innovation for Cetaceans Conservation Award’)

Sign up for Stranding Workshop (taking place on Saturday)

15:00 – 17:30: Afternoon workshop

Human behaviour change for cetaceans.  How can whale watch operators, guides, NGOs, educators, and scientists increase the likelihood of changing people’s perceptions and actions, incorporating environmental awareness, sustainable principles, and conservation actions? The workshop will focus on real-life examples and practical solutions

15:30 Afternoon Tea/Coffee Break



Towards responsible tourism for whales and dolphins


8:30 – 9:00 Doors open, Tea / Coffee on arrival

9:00 – 9:45 Keynote speaker (TBA)

9:45 – 10:45 Short talks

The increasing importance of responsible whale and dolphin watching tourism. Recognising responsible whale watching businesses and destinations, tourism trends, the move away from dolphinariums, the development of sanctuaries, visitor trends and changing perceptions

10:45 – 11.15 Morning Tea/Coffee Break

11.15 – 13:00 Talks and discussion

Indigenous communities and whale and dolphin tourism: Successes, challenges, and opportunities

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch



14:00 – 15:00 Poster presentations and networking session

(including candidates for WCA Responsible Whale and Dolphin Tourism Award)

15:00 – 17:30 Afternoon workshop:

Responsible Whale Watching Experts Go Wild!  Measuring responsible and sustainable practices for wild whale and dolphin watching is becoming increasingly important for the travel industry and for the travelling public. In this lively and engaging workshop, you will meet operators involved in various certification programmes, learn from inspiring case studies on how they have met the criteria, and benefit from some of their top tips on what it takes to run a successful and responsible ecotourism business

16:00 – 16:30 Afternoon Tea/Coffee Break

16:30 – 17:30 Workshop continued

17:30 – 18:30 World Cetacean Alliance Partner meeting / AGM


THURSDAY 10 October WWC DAY 3:

The Power of Local Communities to Protect Whales and Dolphins


MORNING WHALE WATCH - Official Conference Event

08:00 – 14:00 Responsible whale watching tour. Take a trip out to see the whales and learn more about responsible whale watching practices


14:00 – 17:00 The Hervey Bay story

The official unveiling of the Community Art Project will take place on the foreshore in Scarness, opposite The Beach House Hotel.

Delegates will hear locals tell their stories about science, events, tourism, and community involvement that have grown up around the whales in Hervey Bay and made it the special place that it is today

17:00   17:30 Afternoon Tea/Coffee Break

17:00 – 18:00 Poster presentations and networking session

(including candidates for WCA Communities for Whales and Dolphins Award)


20:00 – 22:00 People and whales across the Pacific – a shared journey

Indigenous people from around Australia and across the Pacific tell their stories (including through various artistic media) that link them to whales and dolphins. What can we learn that will help us better protect our shared ocean?


FRIDAY 11 October WHS DAY 1:

Whale Conservation and Heritage Awards


Whale Heritage Sites Summit

Morning session:

8:30 – 9:00 Doors open, Tea / Coffee on arrival

9:00 – 10.45 Whale Heritage Sites

Awarding and celebrating achievements across our network of Whale Heritage Sites, and announcing newly certified sites

10:45 – 11.15 Morning Tea/Coffee break

11:15 – 13:00 Celebrating cetaceans

Let your imagination run wild as we show you how to create small and big events that will inspire the next generation of ocean advocates and meet a key criterion for Whale Heritage Site certification!

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch 


14:00 – 16:00 Whale Conservation Awards

Awarding the very best cetacean conservation and welfare initiatives from across the WCA Partnership and beyond. Inspiring Change Award, Responsible Whale and Dolphin Tourism Award, Whales & Dolphins in the Heart of the Community Award, and Innovation for Cetaceans Conservation Award PLUS we award Hervey Bay participants for their achievements

15:00 Afternoon Tea/Coffee

16:30 – 17:00 Launch: Manifesto for Whales and Dolphins – WCA plan for the next 10 years!

17:00 – 17:30 Executive summary and close


Social function, party with fundraiser (raffle / auction / fancy dress / fun!) (details to be announced soon)

SATURDAY 12 October

Community Workshop: Stranding Response Practical Training (To Be Confirmed)

Morning Session: Stranding Response

Afternoon Training: Put our community training to the test!

Debrief and Presentation of certificates to all attendees


Artwork by Burralangi