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Exclusion zone at Warrnambool’s Logans Beach comes into force

Boat operators are being reminded to steer clear of Warrnambool’s Logans Beach from today, Wednesday, 1 June, as the vessel exclusion zone to protect Southern Right Whales begins.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 12:20 am

The exclusion zone is in place from 1 June until 31 October every year to protect migrating Southern Right Whale mothers and their calves sheltering in the Logans Beach nursery.

The Conservation Regulator enforces the exclusion zone, which prevents all powered watercraft, including boats and jet skis, from entering the area between Gaul’s Cave and Point Ritchie.

The fine for any vessel entering the Logans Beach Exclusion Zone is $3,634.

Southern Right Whales are listed as endangered in Victoria, with the south-eastern Australian population estimated to be around 300 individuals.

The following minimum approach distances apply in all Victorian waters outside the exclusion zone:

  • Recreational boaters must remain 200 metres from whales.
  • High impact vessels, such as jet skis, must remain 300 metres away from whales.
  • Swimmers must not approach within 50 metres of a whale.
  • Aircraft, including drones and helicopters, are not permitted within 500 vertical metres if the aircraft is operating within a 500-metre radius of a whale.

Boat operators should use extreme caution when travelling through waters near the exclusion zone. Blows and splashes are the most obvious signs that whales are present in the area.

Anyone who sees vessels within the exclusion zone or breaching minimum distances can report the incident to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000. Details such as the date, time and location of the incident, as well as a description and photographs, can assist investigations.

Logans Beach is the only established nursery in south-east Australia where female Southern Right Whales regularly return to nurse their calves, so it’s vital we give them space.

Female Southern Right Whales are known to react to watercraft around their young, so the exclusion zone is needed for everyone’s safety.

Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers will patrol the exclusion zone and the south-west coast over coming months to ensure vessel operators comply with regulations.

The public can also report vessels in the exclusion zone or breaching minimum distances to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.

Barwon South West Program Manager
Conservation Regulator Victoria