Boaters warned for being too close to whales
TWO boats that came within 60m of whales were investigated this year, according to Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Program Manager Mark Breguet.
“In May, a boat came to within 50 metres of whale at Cape Bridgewater and in June, a boat came to within 60 metres of a whale at Portland harbour,” Mr Breguet said.
“In both instances, verbal warnings were issued by DELWP Wildlife Officers.”
The information was revealed in a summary of the whale season along the south-west coast for 2017, which also noted that Operation Chester was conducted during the whale breeding season to protect southern right and other whale species.
“The offenders are aware that their details have been recorded, and that any incidence of repeat offending will be dealt with more severely,” Ms Breguet added.
DELWP patrols monitored the activities of vessels as well as aircraft, and spoke to operators about keeping the required safe distances from whales.
“Recreational vessel operators are reminded that the minimum approach distance to a whale in Victorian waters is 200 metres for boats and 300 metres for jet skis,” Mr Breguet said.
In total eight alleged incidents occurred across the wider region, which extends as far east as Torquay.
“A number of people were formally interviewed by DELWP Wildlife Officers,” a DELWP spokesperson said.
“Further action is being taken in some cases.”