Gippsland Lakes Burrunan dolphin and Boats Public Awareness Campaign
The Gippsland Lakes is home to amazing wildlife including the endangered Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis), provides recreational boating and fishing experiences and revenue, hosts numerous tour operators and with an estimated 10.8 million visitors the to Gippsland region annually, the health of the waterway and its inhabitants is crucial. Over the past few years, we have observed a growing interest in the Burrunan dolphins and have directly observed numerous vessel approaches that breach the current government regulations, set out in the Wildlife (Marine Mammal) Regulations 2009.
Boats and Jet skis operated without consideration for marine wildlife pose a significant threat to the welfare of these endemic and iconic animals. The regulations in place provide the framework for safe and sustainable interactions, minimise risks of direct harm but also ability for the dolphins to maintain the required core biological activities (i.e. feeding, mating, resting). Awareness of, and compliance to, the regulations can be significantly improved.
There is currently there is no single readily available source that visitors, tour operators, businesses or locals can go to gain information about the Gippsland Lakes, the Burrunan dolphin, regulations around boats and dolphins, threats/impacts and ways to help. Our project addresses this need.
We will deliver and multifaceted and effective public awareness campaign. “Boating with Burrunan” will provide:
- A public awareness campaign to raise the levels of understanding and compliance to the boating with wildlife regulations.
- A comprehensive colour booklet detailing the regulations for approach and interaction with marine wildlife, impacts and threats to the local population of Burrunan dolphin and most importantly what every boater on the Lakes can do to help conserve this magnificent marine ecosystem for generations to enjoy.
- Signage at major points of boat entry providing action initiatives for boaters to easily understand how best they can enjoy the lakes in a non-impactful way.
- Public information sessions
- A user friendly set of web based information: social media and websites.
This project is funded by the Victorian State Government for the Gippsland Lakes.