Have Your Say: Two New Trials For Swimming With Seals Have Been Proposed Off WA’s Coast
As far as popular tourist activities along the WA coast go, swimming with dolphins down in Bunbury and in Rockingham are up there with the best.
And now a new trial has been proposed for similar experiences with dolphins’ furry friends, seals (or are they mortal enemies, forever locked in a battle for supremacy off the WA coast – who’s to know?).
The trial has been proposed for West Aussies to get up close and personal (safely) with seals in their own environment in the Shoalwater Islands and Jurien Bay marine parks over summer.
Seals are currently protected in Western Australia, with the public being required to keep a minimum distance of 50m away in the water, 100m away in a vessel and 10m on land.
The draft management program aims to the “protect the animals and manage their natural curiousity safely and ethically”, and if the trial is successful a similar licence situation to Ningaloo’s humpback and whale shark swim tours will be established.
Those fees from tourism operators would be reinvested by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions into research and conservation management.
“Seals are incredibly intelligent and curious creatures, and a familiar sight along our coastline,” said Environment Minister Reece Whitby. “Imagine interacting with seals in their own environment while playing a part in safeguarding their protection…
“We need to make sure safety is a priority for both swimmers and seals, while making WA a unique destination for magical wildlife experiences.”
The WA Government sees it as a boost to their recently-launched Walking On A Dream tourism campaign: “This is a great tourism opportunity that builds on other nature-based experiences around WA such as swimming with whale sharks, humpbacks and manta rays off Ningaloo,” said Tourism Minister Roger Cook.
“It will also create jobs in Rockingham and Jurien Bay, and further strengthen WA’s reputation as a destination of choice for best practice wildlife encounters.”
You can have your say until November 15 by visiting the Dept. Biodiversity, Conservation And Attractions WEBSITE.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Imagine Earth Photography