Dolphin injury prompts warning

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A YOUNG, injured dolphin in Port Phillip has highlighted concern that boat users are flouting the law and getting too close to wildlife in the bay.

The dolphin, less than one year old, was spotted about two weeks after it had lost part of its tail, probably from a boat strike.

Department of Environment, Land and Water and Planning compliance officer Katie Knight said the dolphin was lucky not to have been fatally wounded.

“These type of strikes are often fatal or severely debilitating and while it is great to see a marine mammal in its natural environment, a big lesson here is to be aware of and adhere to the rules and regulations that protect our precious wildlife,” she said.

Recreational boats must remain 100m away from dolphins and 200m from whales, except if approached. High impact vessels like jet skis must stay 300m away from whales and dolphins.

Ms Knight said people who came across dolphins, whales or seals should reduce their speed to five knots or less, and avoid the animal.

“We are concerned about this dolphin’s welfare and urge anyone that sights it to take a photo – from a safe distance – with location details and post it to the DELWP Port Phillip Facebook page facebook.com/DELWPPortPhillip,” Ms Knight said.

A new sign highlighting the regulations was erected at Tyrone Boat ramp late last year.

For more information, visit www.delwp.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.

First published in the Frankston Times – 6 June 2016

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