Interested whale watchers are being urged to join the Cape Byron Whale Count Day on Sunday 21 July between 8am and noon at the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) coordinator of marine fauna programs Geoff Ross said humpbacks are the most commonly sighted whales off the Byron Bay coastline and Cape Byron was the best vantage point on the Australian east coast to capture the whale migration.
‘On their annual migration from Antarctica to breed and mate the whales tend to stay in close, to avoid the southern flowing East Australian Current usually within five kilometres of shore,’ Mr Ross said.
‘Although sightings are rarer there is also a chance to see southern right whales, orcas and minke whales,’ he said.
The Cape Byron Whale Count Day provides an opportunity for the community to take part in research and to raise awareness of the health of current whale populations.
‘After being almost wiped out by earlier whaling the population of humpback whales has recovered very strongly and today is very healthy,’ Mr Ross said.
‘The population is growing at over 10 per cent per annum and this year we’re expecting over 16,000 humpback whales to pass the Cape.
‘We’ve seen more southern right whales in the past couple of years than ever before.’
People should bring their own chair or picnic blanket and binoculars. As parking is limited, visitors are encouraged to walk from Wategos Beach or The Pass.
Mr Ross said, ‘you can start your own coastal adventure at www.wildaboutwhales.com.au, the best way for you to learn about whales migrating along our coastline, and to find the best spots in our national parks to see whales and enjoy other great coastal adventures’.
‘You can also share photos and experiences of your coastal adventure on www.facebook.com/wildaboutwhales and learn how others are enjoying the whale season.’