Researchers from the Australian Marine Mammal Foundation (AMMCF) are urging Port Phillip Bay users to consider the welfare of the Bay’s marine animals, with a common dolphin calf observed with a suspected boat strike injury.
Dr Kate Charlton-Robb, Lead Researcher and Director at AMMCF, observed a common dolphin, less than one year old, with a severe injury to the tail stock. “The injury was very deep and appeared to cut to the bone. We suspect it is from a boat strike” Dr Charlton-Robb said.
“The dolphin calf was free swimming next to it’s mother and despite the substantial wound at this stage did not appear to be compromised.”
Dr Charlton-Robb immediately reported the incident to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and will continue their efforts to monitor the dolphin calf.
“As a part of AMMCF’s ongoing applied dolphin research, we endeavour to monitor the health and hopeful recovery of this little dolphin, but it is a strong reminder to take care when dolphins are around”.
DELWP Port Phillip Senior Compliance Officer Katie Knight said “These type of strikes are often fatal or severely debilitating and while it is great to see a marine mammal in its natural environment, a big lesson here is to be aware of and adhere to the rules and regulations that protect our precious wildlife.”
Recreational boats must remain 100m away from dolphins and 200m from whales, except if approached. High impact vessels like jet skis must remain 300m away from whales and dolphins.
“We are concerned about this dolphin’s welfare and urge anyone that sights it to take a photo – from a safe distance – with location details and post it to the DELWP Port Phillip Facebook page facebook.com/DELWPPortPhillip,” Ms Knight said.
To report sick, injured or distressed dolphins or whales, call the Cetacean Emergency Hotline on 1300 136 017. To report sick, injured or distressed seals, seabirds or marine turtles call the AGL Marine Response Unit on 1300 AGL MRU (1300 245 678).