Victorians are lucky to have an incredibly diverse range of marine life right in our backyards, from tiny shrimp living on pier pylons to highly mobile resident bottlenose and common dolphins. For generations, our bays have served as crucial nurseries for dolphins, providing shelter, food and a safe place to birth and raise calves.
Just this year alone, we have had at least seven new calves born in Port Phillip Bay – a truly remarkable feat considering dolphins in other states are not doing so well.
Our dolphins share their home with a growing number of vessels, from large cargo ships right down to kayaks. For the most part, humans and dolphins appear to coexist in relative harmony.
However, over the summer holiday season, interactions between vessels and dolphins tend to increase due to higher vessel traffic, as well as greater dolphin presence in the area (often with new calves in tow).
These interactions put dolphins at risk, as they interfere with vital behaviours, such as feeding, mating and nursing of calves.
This summer, we’re piloting a new approach for improving boating behaviour around dolphins. Rather than blaming, shaming and complaining, we’re asking the community to be part of the solution by creating a new norm on the water through Dolphin Distancing.
Put simply, Dolphin Distancing is about committing to being respectful around our dolphins and doing the right thing on the water by giving them space.
It’s easy – don’t approach dolphins closer than 100m in boats (including paddled vessels), 300m on jet skis or 30m if you’re swimming.
Dolphins are curious and may approach you – sometimes you don’t even realise. If they do, simply slow down and enjoy the experience!
Together we can build a strong community of boaters who are committed to doing the right thing around our maginificent resident dolphins and in turn, protecting them for future generations.
You can commit to Dolphin Distancing here and receive a sticker to proudly display on your vessel, reinforcing your pledge.
Please report breaches to DELWP on 136 186.