Space for whales

News article |

Winter is upon us and so is whale migration season. The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is reminding people that while it is exciting to see these majestic creatures, it is important we respect them and keep a safe distance.

Winter is upon us and so is whale migration season.The Department for Environment and Water (DEW) is reminding people that while it is exciting to see these majestic creatures, it is important we respect them and keep a safe distance.

National Parks and Wildlife Compliance Officer Elise Launer said whales frequent a number of areas along the Eyre Peninsula coast during the winter months.

“It’s amazing to see these animals in their natural habitat, however it’s important that we don’t disturb them, both for their safely and yours,” she said.

“Whales and dolphins that are disturbed may stop feeding or nursing their young. Whales may also alter their migration paths and become displaced from important habitats used for resting, breeding, calving or feeding.

“That’s why there are regulations stipulating safe approach distances for boats, jet skis and drones.

“Jet skis must stay 300 m from a whale at all times, and other vessels are required to stay at least 100 m from an adult, and 300 m from a calf.”

Other rules regarding whales and marine mammals can be found in the National Parks and Wildlife (Protected Animals – Marine Mammal) Regulations 2010.

“Drones and other aircraft can disturb marine life due to their speed, noise, shadow or downdraft.

“Drones must stay at least 300 m from a marine mammal at all times, both horizontally and vertically.

“Anyone who wishes to operate a drone or vessel close to a whale, dolphin or seal must apply for a permit from DEW.

“It’s also important to stay away from sick, injured or entangled animals.

Marine mammals that have become entangled or incapacitated in rope or netting, can act erratically and be aggressive and unpredictable.

“It’s important that only appropriately trained professionals respond to distressed or entangled animals.”

If you see a stranded or entangled marine mammal, or see someone harassing a marine mammal call:

Eastern and Southern Eyre Peninsula Duty Ranger: 8688 3223.

Western Eyre Peninsula Duty Ranger: 8626 1108 24 hour

FISHWATCH hotline: 1800 065 522

Port Lincoln Natural Resources Centre: 08 8688 3111

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