Witnesses sought for whale watching incident
29 June 2011
Investigators from the Federal Department of Environment, Sustainability, Water, Populations and Communities are seeking witnesses to an alleged incident between a recreational craft and a whale on Monday 20 June 2011 in waters off Southport, Queensland.
At approximately 10:30 am on that day, a five metre recreational craft was seen operating and manoeuvring around a humpback whale. It is alleged the craft was manoeuvred into the oncoming path of the whale and was operating at distances in breach of Federal whale approach limits.
The alleged incident took place in Commonwealth regulated waters, and as such breaches are liable to penalties under national environment law.
Federal environment investigators are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or the alleged craft returning or leaving the area on that day to contact the department on 0429 326 955 or 1800 110 395, or via email email@example.com. Information can be provided anonymously.
Penalties for harassing, chasing or herding whales under national environment law carry a fine up to $110,000 and or two years imprisonment.
Australian conservation and environment agencies developed national whale watching guidelines in 2005 to better manage interactions with whales while providing people with an opportunity for a unique experience.
The guidelines aim to minimize the impacts of whale and dolphin watching on individuals and populations of whales and dolphins to ensure that people know how to act appropriately when watching whales and dolphins.
For more information go to www.environment.gov.au/coasts