Southern right whale listed as endangered species in NSW: O'Farrell Government needs to develop recovery plan for gentle giant of the ocean

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The NSW Labor Opposition today welcomed the listing of the Southern Right Whale as an endangered species in NSW – and called on Environment Minister Robyn Parker to immediately develop a recovery plan to protect the gentle giant of the ocean.

"The addition of the Southern Right Whale to the NSW Endangered Species List is only the first step in protecting this majestic creature," Shadow Environment Minister, Luke Foley said today.

"I have been calling for the Southern Right Whale to be added to the State's Endangered Species List since September last year.

"The O'Farrell Government now needs to immediately develop a recovery plan to protect the few Southern Right Whales we have left in NSW.

"A report by the Scientific Committee has stated that there could be as few as 10 of these gentle giants of the sea left in NSW waters."

The Southern Right Whale has frequently been observed close to NSW shores, with the majority of sightings occurring from July to September around the southern and central NSW coastline.

Adults can grow up to 18 metres long and weigh up to 54,000 kilograms.

In 2009, a Southern Right Whale calf was killed when it was struck by a recreational boat in Jervis Bay.

"The Scientific Committee – which was established under the former Carr Labor Government - plays a vital role protecting our native animals and plants in NSW," Mr Foley added.

"When questioned by me in budget estimates hearings, Robyn Parker refused to rule out dismantling or diluting the independent NSW Scientific Committee that assesses threatened species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

"The listing of the Southern Right Whale as an endangered species highlights just how important the Scientific Committee is in NSW.

"Robyn Parker, of all people, should be sympathetic to endangered species."