Baby dolphins under threat

A dolphin calf stays close to its mother in Cape Byron Marine Park.
A dolphin calf stays close to its mother in Cape Byron Marine Park. Dr Liz Hawkins

NEWBORN dolphin calves in the Cape Byron Marine Park are under threat from recreational craft, a Southern Cross University researcher has warned.

This time of year is the peak birthing season for bottlenose dolphins and researcher Dr Liz Hawkins has reported an increase in the number of people breaking the law by getting too close.

Dr Hawkins’ team has recently completed their summer research season and this year observed ‘a number of people approaching close to, and pursuing the dolphins’ in contravention of the law.

“It is important that each person who is out on the water, whether on a surfboard, paddle board, kayak and all other vessels, abide by the regulations,” she said.

Marine park manager Andrew Page said the penalty for getting closer than 50m to an adult dolphin or 150m to a calf was up to $110,000 or two years in jail.

“Dolphins are very sensitive to being disturbed during this time,” he said.

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