Wildlife warning as visitors flock to the Peninsula

The Conservation Regulator is cracking down on irresponsible behaviour towards wildlife along the Mornington Peninsula coastline, including water users harassing dolphins.

Monday, 16 January 2023 at 5:44 am
The Conservation Regulator has received several reports of jet skis getting too close to dolphins.

Authorised Officers are ramping up educational and enforcement patrols along the Peninsula foreshore and back beaches as summer visitation increases and following several reports of jet skiers driving too close to dolphins at Tyrone Foreshore Beach.

Officers are also urging the public to report any information about these incidents or other cases of wildlife crime to Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.

Dolphins are active along the coast and people must stay at least 100m away from the animals when on a boat or 300m when jet skiing. Breaching these rules carries a fine of up to $3,698 under the Wildlife Act 1975. If a dolphin approaches a boat or jet ski, slow down or stop the vessel and let the dolphins move on.

It’s also common to see seals resting on beaches at this time of year and people must stay at least 30m from them or 50m if they have a dog. Vessels must also stay at least 5m away from seals on any man-made structures, such as jetties or boat ramps.

Beachgoers should also look out for vulnerable hooded plovers which are nesting on shallow sand scapes on Peninsula beaches and need extra protection to ensure their best chances of survival. Hooded plovers are at risk of being scared off and their nests trampled on by beach users and wayward dogs.

Victorians are reminded to look out for fenced-off hooded plover nesting areas and give them plenty of space.

The Conservation Regulator works with Parks Victoria, Victorian Fisheries Authority, Maritime Safety Victoria and Water Police to discourage misconduct on our coasts and to educate the public.

Harassing dolphins and other wildlife is cruel and unacceptable, and we urge the public to report this behaviour to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Small changes to your behaviour can make a big difference to wildlife welfare. Our patrols are focussing on engaging with the public to make sure they know the rules, and anyone caught doing the wrong thing is held accountable.

We’re lucky to have iconic wildlife species living along the coast and we want beachgoers to safely share the beach with them.

Conservation Regulator Victoria