Water users are reminded of whale watching regulations as the Gold Coast heads into peak baby humpback season

This week in the world of whales, Sea World Cruises saw over 132 whales, including a dozen adorable calves.

As the city heads towards the middle of the baby season, water users are reminded to follow whale watching guidelines to protect these bundles of blubber.

Strict whale watching regulations are enforced throughout the Queensland coastline to protect humpback whales and their calves on their migratory journey.

Source: Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science

Water users are being urged to ‘go slow if you see a blow’. Vessels must not actively chase a whale, wait in front of a whale or cut off a whale’s path of travel.

Slowing down and offering the choice for the whale interact with the vessel can provide a safer and more enjoyable experience for both humans and whales.

Whales can be impacted by noise pollution, and research has shown that the loud engines of jet skis interfere with humpback whale migration. Jet-powered vessels can harm baby whales and cause them to be separated from its mother.

Although gentle by nature, there have been reported incidents of whales landing on small watercraft. Because of these reasons and to keep both humans and humpbacks safe, jet skis are prohibited within 300m of a whale.

Also, in whale news, a story broke on Saturday, July 16, with the discovery of a white humpback whale carcass washed ashore at Mallacoota Beach in eastern Victoria.

It was first feared to be the iconic white humpback, Migaloo. However, this was debunked by researchers on the scene. Migaloo is a male whale, whereas the whale on the beach was a female.

Migaloo’s name translates to ‘white fella’ in some Indigenous languages. He was first spotted in 1991 swimming past Byron Bay when he was 4-5 years of age.

Australians have lovingly adopted Migaloo as their own, with the Queensland and Commonwealth governments awarding him a ‘special protection’ status that prevents vessels from getting any closer than 500-metres to him, or penalties apply.

Despite his extra protection, Migaloo collided with a vessel on the Queensland coast in 2003, leaving him with a tell-tale scaring pattern. Another example of why it is essential to follow all whale watching regulations.

Migaloo spends much of his time further offshore than other whales, making him difficult to track. Although he hasn’t officially been seen for two years, experts believe he is still swimming and simply keeping his distance.

Sea World Cruises has spotted Migaloo five times since 2015. The last confirmed sighting was in July 2020. Sea World Cruises is on the lookout for Australia’s favourite whale, with his migration pattern lining up over the next two weeks.

Whale Watching Cruises depart daily from the Sea World Cruises Main Beach Terminal location. For more information, visit seaworldcruises.com.au.