By Juliano Oliveira
The warm waters of the Queensland coast will again be the house of Humpback whales and their babes.
During this autumn and winter, 35,000 humpbacks are expected to travel along Queensland’s coast.
“Queenslanders look forward to this time of the year as the humpback whales return to our coastline, but if you’re on the water it’s important to marvel from a distance,” Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said.
Penalties will be applied to boaties and recreational water users who get too close to the whales, with a minimum $652 on the spot fine or a maximum fine of $21,540.
“Boats must remain 100 metres away from whales, while personal watercrafts like Jet Skis have to maintain a 300-metre distance.
“For special interest whales, like the white whale Migaloo, Jet Ski riders must keep 500 metres away,” Ms Enoch said.
Louise Matthiesson from the Queensland Conservation Council said the increase in whale populations is something to be proud of.
“Whales are a success story for conservation and show what we can do when we take action to protect a species and they flourish,” Ms Matthiesson said.
“At the moment, the whale population is increasing by about 10% each year which is great news.”
Minister Enoch said that humpbacks will be in Queensland waters until Spring when they head south to Antarctic waters, and boaties can expect to be whale watching up until November.
People can report stranded or entangled whales, or people breaching the whale approach limits by calling DES on 1300 130 372.