Migaloo sighted off Byron Bay
The all-white humpback whale, Migaloo, first seen in 1991, was sighted off Byron Bay on Monday.
Migaloo was seen about 3pm just north of The Pass, travelling south with a pod of five other whales, according to Cape Byron Marine Park Manager, Andrew Page.
Mr Page said Migaloo was first sighted by Rob Dalton from Byron Bay Dive Centre, with the sighting confirmed by a marine park ranger.
He said the pod was travelling reasonably fast towards Cape Byron.
“Migaloo is the only recorded all-white humpback whale in the world,” he said.
“He is an adult male and was called Migaloo as this is the name Aboriginal people from the Hervey Bay area use to describe a white person.”
Mr Page said Migaloo would attract a lot of attention on his way south and urged people to maintain a safe distance to allow him to pass peacefully.
"September/October is the peak time for the southern migration of humpbacks in the local area, with over half of the pods entering the bay in this period containing calves," he said.
"Consideration needs to be extended when approaching in boats or any other craft. This is especially important in the case of adults with calves, which may be either resting or suckling. Research has shown that whales can be highly sensitive to engine noises.
“Several reports have been directed to Cape Byron Marine Park staff during the past few days from locals concerned about boats coming too close to whales.
“While being close to whales is a fascinating experience, vessel masters need to be aware of their responsibilities.
“For a vessel, the approach distance is 100 metres from a whale. When calves are in the pod, the approach distance increases to 300 metres. Jet skis are prohibited within 300 metres.
“Skippers also need to be aware of how to manage their vessels near whales with “no waiting” and “no chasing” being important rules to remember. This means that vessels may not deliberately pursue or approach whales from behind or place themselves in the path of a travelling whale or pod.
For further information about whales and the marine mammal approach regulations visit http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/WhaleRegulation.htm