The state’s peak environment group is calling on the NSW Government to ensure recreational boaties are well versed in the regulations and guidelines for whale watching and act responsibly to avoid collisions with these magnificent marine mammals.
“Humpback and southern right whales will be migrating along the NSW coastline until the end of November. The recent death of a baby humpback whale from a propeller injury in NSW’s northern waters is a timely reminder of the damage boats can cause if they get too close to mums and calves,” Cate Faehrmann, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
“Regulations and whale watching guidelines allow the general public to enjoy the spectacle of the whale migration in a manner that is safe for both humans and marine animals. It is part of recreational boat licensing requirements to know the regulation for whale watching, including the ‘no approach’ and ‘slow approach’ zones around these animals.
“However, once a licence has been obtained, there are no tests to ensure this knowledge remains top of mind for boat operators. Boaties need to be reminded that when calves are in the pod, the safe approach distance for a vessel is 300 metres from a whale.
“We urge the Department of Environment and Climate Change to more actively promote their whale watching guidelines and ensure boaties are reminded of regulations and penalties when renewing their licence. Current fines are hefty and penalties are strong, but there seems to be little enforcement of breaches.
“A bit of extra care from boaties can make help keep the 2000 whales migrating along our coastline safe from accidental collisions,” Ms Faehrmann said.