Migaloo the white whale heads north with own 'bodyguard'

MIGALOO is continuing to head north - but with his own Queensland Government bodyguard - after complaints of boats getting way too close to the big white superstar.

Queensland National Parks and Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said a State Government vessel would maintain a "compliance watch' over the white whale until he reached the safe waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"If Migaloo maintains his current progress he is expected to arrive in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park sometime over the weekend and he will be monitored until then," Dr Miles said.

"Great Sandy Marine Parks Vessel CH Thompson will take over from the Moreton Bay Marine Park vessel Caretta, with the transfer likely to occur offshore from Double Island Point.

"This has been made necessary by the reported behaviour of a number of vessels off the Gold Coast on Tuesday."

Dr Miles said wildlife officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection were continuing their investigation into a complaint lodged in response to an incident on Tuesday.

"No comment will be made on that particular investigation while it is ongoing but it is very important that all marine users and operators of aircraft, respect the approach limits around all whales as they make their way through Queensland State waters," he said.

Migaloo and other white whales have special protection which means boats and prohibited vessels must not approach within 500 metres and aircraft cannot approach within 610 metres without authorisation.

For all other whales and dolphins the approach limits are 100 metres, or 300 metres if there are already three or more vessels within 300 metres of the whale.

The maximum penalty for intentionally moving too close to a whale is $20,113.50 or an on the spot fine of $609.

"Anyone breaking these rules and harassing the whales should be ashamed of themselves. Stop and think about how you would feel if you were responsible for hurting one of the few white whales in the world?," Dr Miles said.

Members of the public who are concerned vessels may be approaching too close to humpback whales are asked to contact EHP on 1300 130 372 so that the matter can be investigated.

Topics:  gold coast migaloo whale watching

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