Mollymook News

editor Ken Banks

Mollymook news,Mollymook,news,Milton,Ulladulla

Whale migration

 Whales need plenty of space.

Mollymook Ocean swimmers,mollymook,ocean,swim,swimmers,beach,surf club,whales

Whales are known to come very close to shore and need to be given space

 .

Article courtesy of Bay Post – Moruya Examiner written by Stan Gorton

Migrating whales over the past month have prompted authorities to remind people to observe distance regulations for their own safety and that of the whale.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Regional Manager Peter Hay said a pod of fifteen orcas were sighted off Cape Solander, Kurnell this past Monday, in another uncommon but exciting addition to the winter whale watching season. A pod of killer whales was also spotted off Narooma this past weekend, while two southern right whales were also spotted off Durras earlier this month.

.
“Generally Sydney-siders have been great but it’s a timely reminder that all vessels, including surfboards, must not approach within 100 metres of a whale, and that triples to 300 metres if a calf is present,” Mr Hay said. “We share everyone’s excitement at getting such a unique experience so close to the shore but it’s important to reinforce that sea kayaks, paddle boarders and surfers are bound by the same regulations as apply to people in motorised vessels.

.
“Swimmers cannot approach within 30 metres however, it is not recommend that people enter the water near whales – they are gentle giants but at 65 tonnes it is best to keep a safe distance. “As we have seen when a surfer was taken to hospital after being struck by a southern right whale at Bondi Beach in the past, whales need space and can react without warning”.

.
“If a whale approaches you it is your responsibility to move away calmly and cautiously, considering public safety and the whale’s welfare.”

.
Southern right whales are one of the rarest of the large whales with a total population estimated at around 5000 animals. Southern right whales breed at a much slower rate than humpback whales. Less than a dozen southern right whales are recorded off the NSW coast each year which may include 1 or 2 births.

.
“Orca, sometimes called the wolves of the sea, are the ocean’s top predator and often follow the migration,” Mr Hay said. “They have an important role in helping maintain the overall health of the larger whale populations by preying on the weaker individuals which is nature’s way of maintaining a healthy gene pool.”

.
Sydney and the South Coast are blessed with many fantastic land-based whale watching options and whale watching from a good headland often yields some amazing experiences especially when we have whales such as a Southern Right really taking up home here for weeks at a time off the Sydney and South Coast beaches.

.
Mr Hay encouraged people to share their whale sightings, tweet with the hashtag #whaleon to @WildAboutWhales or log the sighting using the free app so others in the area can view the animal and track its movements. NPWS reminds people that whales are wild animals that sometimes choose to visit or stay in and around our harbours for weeks at a time. While NPWS and ORRCA will monitor them during that time they will eventually leave at their own free will, and hopefully return next year. Report any entangled or distressed marine mammals to the NPWS on 1300 361 967 and the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) on 9415 3333.