WHALE watchers are keeping a close eye on Australia’s coastline for any signs of ‘Migaloo’, the famed all-white humpback whale.
The first possible sighting of ‘Migaloo’ in 2021 was made from the air off the coast of Victoria earlier this month.
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But Macquarie University Marine Scientist Dr Vanessa Pirotta told Good News Fraser Coast today there is no conclusive evidence just yet that it was the famed all-white whale.
Dr Pirotta urged anyone who thinks they might have seen ‘Migaloo’ to get in touch via https://www.migaloo.org.au or Twitter – @migaloo1.
Migaloo is completely white and has a uniquely shaped dorsal fin and tail.
“Due to his appearance, people want to learn more about him. One of the cool things ‘Migaloo’ has helped explain to the general public is that whales sometimes take different migration routes. For example, he sometimes likes to visit New Zealand rather than Australia during his migration,” Dr Pirotta said.
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While many whale watchers are hoping to catch a glimpse of ‘Migaloo’, spotting a specific whale in the vast ocean can be quite difficult.
“I’ve only ever seen him once while others have seen him multiple times. There are many whale watchers who have never seen him before. There are over 30,000 humpback whales in this population, so seeing a specific whale in that massive group can be tricky,” Dr Pirotta explained.
Due to the special interest around ‘Migaloo’, or any other predominately white whale, there are strict rules in place to ensure their safety.
Dr Pirotta said all vessels must remain at least 500m away, aircraft can fly no closer than 610m vertically and drones cannot be operated within 100m vertically or horizontally.
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In Hervey Bay, the whale watching season is considered to run from July to November when humpbacks migrate in their thousands from the cold Antarctic to warmer waters off the Queensland coast.
Whales generally start to arrive in their numbers in July, with many tour operators starting to operate mid-month.
Whale watching tours end on 31 October.
Hervey Bay was recognised as the first Whale Heritage Site in 2019 and is considered one of the best places in the world to see humpback wales up close.
‘Migaloo’ was first photographed near Byron Bay in June 1991.
At the time, he was the only documented all-white humpback whale in the world.
Researchers believe he was born in 1986.
Click here to find out more information on Migaloo.
You can follow Dr Pirotta on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.