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Queensland Government approves swimming with whales venture in Hervey Bay

Queensland Government approves swimming with whales venture in Hervey Bay
September 19, 2017

Following an incident-free three-year trial, the Queensland Government has given the go-ahead for popular ‘swimming with whales’ programs to become a permanent fixture in Hervey Bay.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the decision to whale watching industry operators in Hervey Bay earlier this week, saying that the go-ahead will greatly enhance Hervey Bay’s enviable reputation as a whale-watchers paradise.

Premier Palaszczuk stated “Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast is now recognised as the whale watching capital of the world, where from July till October, whales and their calves come in from the open ocean to rest and play on their way back to Antarctica.

“People travel here from all over Queensland, interstate and overseas for their chance to get up close and personal with the magnificent animals.”

Tourism Research Australia data shows a 6.8% increase in international visitors to Queensland in the year to March this year – with a 15.1% increase in the Wide Bay region.”

Around 30,000 humpback are migrating along the Queensland coast this year. Thousands of whales and their new calves will stop over in Hervey Bay on their way back to Antarctica.

The Queensland Department of National Parks had considered whale conservation and swimmers safety during a three-year trial of the activity.

Queensland National Parks Minister Steven Miles said the Department was happy with the way the trial had gone, and approved the aquatic activity continuing on.

He explained “while it’s an activity with some risks, no incidents occurred during the trial.

“Swimming with whales is proving a very popular product, in the range of Hervey Bay’s many attractions, and I’m delighted to know it can continue on.”

In the year ending March 2017, an estimated 123,000 domestic visitors to Queensland went whale or dolphin watching.

Of the 11 boats currently operating in the Fraser Coast whale watching fleet, six are licenced to offer the ‘swimming with whales’ experience.

The industry’s strict code of practice ensures the giant mammals’ welfare and conservation are paramount, and any encounters must be solely on the whales’ terms.

Queensland legislation means that neither boats nor swimmers can approach within a 100 metre radius of a whale or dolphin. However curious whales may approach swimmers and often do.

The operators put their passengers on a boom net, duckboard or a mermaid line with floats that swimmers can hold onto.

Ministers Miles warns this is a regulated and professionally run activity, with penalties in place for those who do the wrong thing.

Images: Swimming with whales in Hervey Bay (top, courtesy of Blue Dolphin Tours) and whales during their east coast migration (below).

12th May 2016 - NATURE COAST TAPS INTO UK’S ADVENTURE MARKET WITH MULTI-FACETED CAMPAIGN 

23rd November 2015 - MORE WHALE WATCHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MORETON BAY

5th September 2015 - NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND SHOULD REVERT TO TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS NAME 

23rd July 2015 - ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA’S ECO CERTIFICATION GAINS GLOBAL APPROVAL 

20th June 2015 - SUNSHINE AND FRASER COASTS LAUNCH THE ‘GREAT BEACH DRIVE’

9th June 2015 - WHALES COMMENCE SEASONAL MIGRATION ALONG EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA

12th November 2011 - VISITOR STATISTICS SHOW WHALE SHARK TOURISM ON THE RISE


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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

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