Jet ski breaches whales' space

THREE humpback whales breeching 500 metres off Shelly Beach at Ballina had a close encounter with a jet ski rider yesterday afternoon.

Ballina police received a report from an onlooker concerned the jet ski rider may have been within the whales’ exclusion zone.

It is an offence for water craft to go within 100 metres of a whale.

Australian Seabird Rescue environmental scientist Keith Williams said boats going too close to whales were an issue.

“People want to get close to see them,” he said.

However, getting too close was risky, especially if the whale was in calf, MrWilliams said.

“If they get too stressed there is a risk they can spontaneously abort,” he said.

Mr Williams said mature humpback whales were 14 metres long, weighed 40 tonne and should not be ‘messed with’.

“Potentially you may not see a tail about to come down,” he said.

Humpbacks are currently migrating north along the east coast of NSW to warmer waters off Queensland where they will give birth before returning to the Antarctic in spring.

Yesterday’s jet ski incident was reported to NSW Maritime.



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