When it comes to Australia, about 50% of the total whale population migrates to the seas around the little continent. As a breeding ground and a safe area where many whales raise their calves, Australia has undertaken the task of ensuring that these whales are protected from harm. Australians have also fallen in love with their marine giants and have heartily embraced them, with whale watching becoming an extremely popular activity.
As the world leader in the conservation and protection of whales, Australia has launched various whale protection laws that everyone is required to comply with. The following whale protection rules are applied to whale watching activities in Australia.
1. Maintaining a Safe Distance
All whales and dolphins are huge creatures that have a lot of strength. A whale breaching too close to a boat can easily topple it or cause it to capsize. In some cases, a boat being too near can also cause distress to the whale which could prompt it to react in an unusual manner too. For the safety of everyone involved, boats are not allowed within 100m of a whale and 50m of a dolphin.
2. No Feeding, No Petting
Whales and dolphins are not tame creatures. Unlike the ones that you get to see in captivity, the ones you get to observe in the seas around you will not be interested in eating fish or some other treat from your hand, nor should they be encouraged to. It can be extremely dangerous–not to mention harmful–for everyone involved since it would also mean breaching the safe distance and could hurt the whale or dolphin’s digestive system.
3. Monitoring their Behaviour
Pay close attention to the behaviour that the whales are showing towards each other. Sometimes, whales might be showing distress or they might be showcasing aggressive behaviour towards presumed threats since they have a calf with them. In such instances, it is best to retreat further than the recommended safe distance.
4. When Approached By Whales
Often times, pods of curious whales and dolphins might approach a boat of their own accord. As curious creatures, they can indulge in such behavior. When this happens, it is recommended that the boat be put in neutral and let them observe. If possible, in some situations it is best for the boat to be steered away from them slowly and in a steady straight route. You can get further information here about rules for whale protection.
At the end of the day, whale watching is meant to help you learn more about whales and understand how beautiful they are. By being responsible regarding their well-being, you ensure that you don’t cause harm unwittingly. Despite their size, whales can be very sensitive and unprofessional whale watching activities can and have hurt them grievously, at times, even causing a decline in whale numbers. By following these rules, we can ensure the safety of whales and dolphins and everyone else involved.