The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says it is in the process of removing shark nets from north coast waters almost two weeks early as migrating whales have already been spotted along the NSW coast as far north as Kingscliff.
DPI will now commence installation of an additional 10 SMART drum lines, which have proven to be more effective in attracting target species.
Focus on whales
As the focus moves from shark to whales, experts from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are encouraging Byron region residents to head to their nearest coastal national park to seek out a vantage point to see the whales on their annual migration north.
Senior wildlife officer at OEH Susan Crocetti said that from now and all throughout June and July, keen whale watchers are likely to see larger groups of humpback whales as they move along the NSW coastline towards warmer waters for breeding.
‘We expect more than 30,000 humpback whales will make the migration this year, and they’re already underway heading north,’ said Ms Crocetti.
‘We will see them heading southwards, many with their newborn calves, during spring from September through to November, travelling at a much more leisurely pace than on their northward journey.
‘If the spectacular sight of whales breaching, blowing and tail-slapping is on your bucket list, now is your chance to tick it off.
‘Humpback whales are an incredible success story, having recovered as a species from the brink of extinction less than six decades ago, to the point where they can now be readily sighted in NSW waters between mid-June and December.
‘While there’s a high chance you can see the whales from any location that offers ocean views, some of our top vantage points in the wider Byron region include Cape Byron Lighthouse in Cape Byron State Conservation Area, Tallow Beach in Arakwal National Park, the Three Sisters walking track in Broken Head Nature Reserve and Iluka Bluff lookout in Bundjalung National Park.
‘Headlands in particular make a great vantage point to spot the whales without disturbing them,’ she said.
Vantage points in national parks usually also offer visitor facilities like a viewing platform or a walking track, and nearby picnic facilities and car parks.
To find out more about whale watching vantage points in the Byron Bay region visit: http://www.wildaboutwhales.com.au/top-spots/byron-and-tweed#vantage-points.
Share photos and experiences of your coastal whale adventure on the Wild About Whales
Stranded, entangled, or sick whales should be reported immediately to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Environment Line on 131 555 or ORRCA Whale and Dolphin Rescue on (02) 9415 3333 (24 hours hotline).