IFAW welcomes the Tasmanian Government's move to secure the protection to whales and dolphins
Today the Tasmanian parliament passed a Bill aimed at securing the protection for whales and dolphins already included in the state’s whale watching guidelines.
“With almost 29,370 boats in Tasmanian Waters, IFAW welcomes Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman’s move to ensure that whales and dolphins are adequately protected. With each passing year, more and more people spend time on the water, and whale and dolphin populations have been increasingly encroached upon. While most people are responsible, a recent legal case in Tasmania, highlighted that there are still a few whose lack of knowledge or irresponsible behaviour continues to put whales and dolphins at risk’, said Sharon Livermore, from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
“The amendment to the Act, will now help Tasmanian park rangers and enforcement officers to strongly enforce the whale watching guidelines, spelling out clearly what are acceptable behaviour and prosecuting those who are found to breach them. It’s very simple really, all personal watercraft, including jet skis, are now legally prohibited from approaching whales and dolphins closer than 300m. boats should not approach a whale any closer than 100m and a dolphin any closer than 50m and not directly from the rear or the front of the animal. This distance is extended to 150m for a dolphin and 300m for a whale if a calf is present. Boats should travel at slow speeds with no sudden changes of direction and no more than three vessels should be within the so-called caution zone (150m of a dolphin and 300m of a whale) at any one time”, concluded Sharon Livermore.
More information on whale watching guidelines in all states and territories and IFAW’s recent report ‘Watch Out, Whales About’ can be found at www.ifaw.org.