Mr Chris Burton has been involved in long-term cetacean research in Western Australia since 1985. He has worked with whale watching operations in waters off Perth since 1989 and Geographe Bay and Flinders Bay since 1994, and conducted small vessel based research since 2003 collecting behavioural, acoustic, photo-id, distribution and abundance data on humpback, southern right and blue whales in these areas.
In 2003 he formed his own company, Western Whale Research (WWR). WWR supplies professional marine fauna observer services to the broader Oil and Gas exploration industry, collecting behavioural and spatial data on cetaceans as well as assisting exploration companies with the mitigation protocols during seismic survey operations. Western Whale Research has provided services for many projects in Australian waters, and internationally in NW Africa and East Timor.
Chris has participated in three international marine mammal research programs, two with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) on blue whales in the Southern Ocean near Australia and Africa in 1996 and 1997, and the third as part of the ‘global ocean warming’ or ATOC project at Heard Island in 1991. Among other requests, he has contributed advice to the Capes Marine Park process, the SW and NW Marine Bioregions review and to the Great Australian Bight Marine Park Marine Mammal Protection Zone – An independent review and risk assessment report to DEWHA.