Warning to boaties and jetskiers with Migaloo circling
SUNSHINE Coast boaties, jetskiers and pilots have been warned to give our ocean giants a wide berth or cop a whale of a fine.
With reports that white whale Migaloo was in Queensland waters over the weekend, Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch has reminded of the laws around approaching the mammals.
The punishments include maximum $21,000 fines.
"It was exciting to hear that Migaloo was sighted in the Moorgumpin (Moreton Island) region on the weekend, but it is timely to remember the laws when it comes to approaching these beautiful creatures," Ms Enoch said.
"There are restrictions for approaching whales, and there are also specific provisions for 'special interest whales', such as Migaloo.
"No one can bring a boat or personal watercraft such as a jetski closer than 500 metres or fly an aircraft closer than 610 metres to white whales such as Migaloo without authorisation.
"Drones are included in the aircraft rules.
"The 'special interest whales' declaration was made to prevent harassment.
"The penalties for moving too close to one of these whales are a $652.75 on-the-spot fine or a maximum $21,540.75."
Will you be on the lookout for Migaloo?
This poll ended on 01 August 2018.
Yep! I'd love to see him.
No, I don't really care.
I'll watch from a distance.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Ms Enoch said Migaloo last appeared off the Gold Coast in July last year.
"He's been seen in Queensland waters nearly every year since 1991," she said.
"Other vessels can approach to 100 metres, unless there are already three boats at that limit, in which case skippers need to stay 300 metres away.
"Boats cannot travel at more than six knots or create a wake within the 300 metre caution zone."
Ms Enoch said swimmers also needed to keep their distance from whales.
"The rules are in place for the safety of whales and humans.
"Remember, humpbacks are huge, unpredictable animals, and about 33,000 of them are making their way along the east coast this year.
"Skippers need to share the water and keep a watch night and day during the migration, as whales are on the move at all hours and can surface unexpectedly."