Fine for breaching Southern Right Whale exclusion zone with jet ski
16 July 2010
A 23 year old Warrnambool man was fined by Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week for entering the Logans Beach Exclusion Zone, a recognised nursery area for Southern Right Whales, by jet ski on 9 August 2009.
The man was fined $400 without conviction, with a 12 months good behaviour bond plus $75 costs.
He was charged under the Wildlife Regulations 1998 where it is an offence to allow a vessel, including jet skis, to enter or remain inside the Logans Beach Exclusion Zone during the prohibited period from 1 June – 31 October.
The two charges that were proven in Court were failing to prevent the jet ski entering Logan’s Beach exclusion zone and while within 300 metres of a whale moving the jet ski at a speed greater than five knots.
During the Southern Right Whale breeding season boating or using a jet ski is not permitted in Logans Beach from 1 June to 31 October due to the risk of causing disturbance to both the whale mother and calf.
This result follows the recent prosecution in April where a Timboon man was fined $1000 without conviction for being in charge of a boat that entered the Logans Beach Exclusion Zone.
DSE Compliance Officer Stan Williams said this fine was another timely reminder for people for this year’s breeding season.
“Southern Right Whales are critically endangered in Victoria and are given special protection under law in Logans Beach during their breeding season where whales regularly make the annual pilgrimage to nurse their young,” he said.
Mr Williams said new regulations to better protect whales, dolphins and seals in all Victorian waters came into force last December.
“It is important for the safety of both people and our wildlife that these minimum approach distances are followed. Penalties may apply if these distances are breached,” he said.
Some of the key regulations include:
- Recreation boaters must remain 200 metres from whales and 100 metres from dolphins, except if approached.
- High impact vessels like jet skies must remain 300 m away from whales and dolphins
- Swimmers must not approach with 50 m of a whale or 30 m of a dolphin
- Aircraft including helicopters must fly at least 500 m above a whale or dolphin
- Licensed tour operators can approach up to 100 m of a whale and 50 m of a dolphin.