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Our Dolphins Make Melbourne Home

By 24/05/2017May 23rd, 2022No Comments

Sightings of dolphins in the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers this week, provide an exciting reminder of Melbourne’s close connection to our wonderful bay.  (Image thanks to Erin Lyall. )

It’s also a reminder that Port Phillip’s dolphins share their home with nearly 5 million Melburnians.

“It’s fantastic to see our dolphins so close to town,” said Jeff Weir, the Dolphin Research Institute’s Executive Director, “This is not an everyday event, but we do have sightings in our database going back nearly 25 years. Dolphins have been seen as far up the Yarra as the Chapel St Bridge and in the Maribyrnong far beyond the racecourse.”

Dolphins have also been recently seen in the Patterson River.

The Institute’s researchers suspect that the dolphins are following bream that migrate into the Rivers.

Researchers believe the river visitors are bottlenose dolphins, possibly a mother and calf.

Port Phillip is home to resident communities of approximately 120 bottlenose dolphins and more than 30 common dolphins.

“It is remarkable to have these dolphins living in our backyard, when many coastal communities around the world are losing their resident dolphins”, said Jeff Weir.

It’s natural for dolphins to explore rivers and there is no need to intervene.

“It is important for the public to respect our dolphins and obey the dolphin watching regulations”, said Suriya Vij, Program Manager, Resource Protection and Management, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. “People shouldn’t deliberately approach dolphins closer than 100m in boats, 300m on Jetskis and 30m for paddlers or swimmers and should keep their speed below 5 knots.”

The Dolphin Research Institute urges people to report their sightings via our website: or by calling 5979 7100.

Download Full Media Release HERE

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