This World Oceans Day we are encouraged to reflect on what we can do to protect our oceans to keep them healthy for future generations.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said that this year’s theme Together We Can reminds us that protecting our environment will take effort from all of us, at all levels.
“In Queensland, the Palaszczuk Government is already been making necessary legislative changes in order to strengthen our environmental protection but real change can only be achieved if we all work together.
“Queensland’s inaugural Climate Week brought together representatives from all industries and levels of government to have important discussions about climate and its impact on the marine environment and the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Enoch said.
“It is important to remember that our oceans not only support a diverse range of vulnerable species, it also supports regional economies through jobs in tourism and the seafood industry.
“Whether it’s through lowering our carbon footprint or reducing the amount of plastic pollution entering our waterways, there are things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment and our climate.”
Ms Enoch said today is particularly significant as Whale watching season has just started in Queensland.
“More than 33,000 whales are expected to travel along Queensland’s coast between now and November as they migrate north to warmer waters to have their calves and find mates.
“Humpbacks are already being spotted in Queensland waters, I encourage you all to keep a sharp lookout for them when out on the water, for your safety and theirs.
“It’s fantastic for tourism, but boaties and others using the water may encounter whales unexpectedly and need to take extra care,” Ms Enoch said.
“Whales are playful and curious creatures that may nudge your boat, slap their fins close by, or breach right out of the water or under your craft.
“Reduce the risks on the water and keep a watch at all times. Whales continue to move at night so be especially careful after dark.
“People need to observe the approach limits. Government officers can, and will, issue fines for breaching the approach limits.
“If you are worried about safety, slow down and steer away from the whale immediately.”
Boats aren’t allowed within 100 metres of whales or 50 metres of dolphins. Jet skis aren’t allowed within 300 metres, and different approach limits apply for aircrafts and swimmers.
The most popular places to spot whales from land were Point Lookout on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), Point Cartwright at Mooloolaba and Point Arkwright at Coolum.
Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said whale watching was popular with tourists and enthusiasts who flocked to the region each year, for a first glimpse of the transient mammals.
“Operators are reporting a bumper start to the season, and there are many vantage points along Gold Coast’s shoreline to spot frolicking whales,” Ms Battista said.