Whales moving up the coast

5th June 2012 7:00 AM
Locals helped count whale numbers over the weekend, with 107 spotted. The northern migration of the whales is underway with the first sightings noted for the season.

HUMPBACK whales are powering north on their winter migration making headlands and viewing vessels on the Coffs Coast the best place to catch a glimpse.  

The first sightings of the giants of the deep have been made with the migration to and from warmer waters to continue through until November.   

As humpbacks, minkes and southern right whales are welcomed into NSW waters, authorities have issued a reminder that there are strict regulations on how close is too close when approaching whales at sea.

Minister for Environment Robyn Parker has called on the state's boating community to be vigilant for the mammals safety and their own.

"While whales are still hunted in some parts of the world, here in NSW they are given the protection they need and their return each year is cause for celebration," Ms Parker said.

"But the regulations are clear: boats must stay at least 100 metres away from whales or 300 metres if a calf is present - without exception.

To enforce the proper protection of whales the NSW Government is supporting Operation Cetus, a campaign to regulate boating activity.

The fifth annual National Whale Day was celebrated on Sunday with more than 70 events held around the country including on the Coffs Harbour Foreshores.