Proposed changes to whale watch legislation have happened without consultation with local operators.
Proposed changes to whale watch legislation have happened without consultation with local operators.

Whale watch changes a surprise

"IT would've been nice if we were consulted."

That was the reaction of of the owner and operator of Whale Watch Experience when asked about proposed changes to legislation of operators on the Australian east coast.

Lee Bramley said Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke hasn't discussed any of the proposals with her company which runs the popular Pacific Explorer from the Coffs Harbour marina.

"I don't know how they can propose these changes without consulting us," Mrs Bramley said.

Under the new legislation, no more permits would be granted to run whale-watching businesses and operators no longer would be able to interrupt the northern migration in open ocean

Hervey Bay Whale Watch owner Brian Perry was a part of the comittee that worked with the Minister and Mrs Bramley believes there may be alterior motives proposed in the changes.

"They're talking about negative impacts but I'd like to see what those impacts are because the numbers are increasing every year," she said.

"There's been more whale contact because there's an increased population of humpback whales migrating each year."

The Pacific Explorer is one of Coffs Harbour's most recognisable business assets having operated from the marina for 17 years.

Coffs Harbour recently lost a a whale watching business but Whale Watch experience believes none of the local operators can be blamed for any irresponsible or disrespectful practices on their tours.

"We've done research tours with Southern Cross University and always abide by the rules about the distances you're allowed to be within the humpback whales." 



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