HUMPBACK SEASON: Best local places to spot the whales
THE Humpback season is officially in full swing, and with plenty of sightings of the whales' spectacular acrobatics along the Coffs Coast, it's a positive sign for the threatened species.
Keen-eyed residents took part in ORRCA's 20th annual whale census on Sunday, with results over the years showing a steady rising trend in population of about 10 per cent per year.
The numbers are expected to reach an excess of 35,000 this year - an increase of 3,000 compared to last year - according to ORRCA.
The data from the census will be used by ORRCA to analyse population growth levels, and how to best protect the creatures through measures such as sustainable fishing practices.
In recent weeks, two whales reported entangled in netting off the east coast of NSW.
The whales' migration north along the east coast of Australia started months earlier this year, with ORRCA reporting a number of the mammals were spotted as early as April.
The migration period officially begins in June, and ends in November.
Within the last two weeks, nearly 80 sightings along the Coffs Coast were reported on NSW National Parks Wild About Whales map.
Some of the busier hotspot areas for whale sightings so far this year include
- Woolgoolga Beach and Headland
- Boambee Headland
- Gallows Beach
- Muttonbird Island
- Beacon Hill Lookout
- Sawtell Beach
- Solitary Islands Coastal Walk
Advocate photojournalist Rachel Vercoe captured some of the stunning scenes off Coffs over the weekend.