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Researchers urge Qld Minister to refuse white whale swim requests


22 August 2003
The Queensland Government has been urged by whale experts to refuse any requests from television crews to swim with the white whale badly injured this week when impaled on the daggerboard rudder of a trimaran near Magnetic Island.

Director of the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre, Associate Professor Peter Harrison, said he understood that the Queensland Government had received a formal request from a television crew to swim with and film the whale.

“I strongly urge the Queensland Minister for the Environment to turn it down any such request immediately,” said Professor Harrison.

“Swimming with whales is dangerous for the swimmer and can be distressing for the animal. In this case, with an injured whale, it is all the more important to stay well clear. We don’t know how this whale will react to, or be affected by, approaching boats or humans,” he said.

“I have written today to the federal environment minister, Dr David Kemp, the New South Wales Premier, Mr Bob Carr, and the Queensland environment minister, Mr Dean Wells, asking for immediate action to implement a permanent 500 metre exclusion around this white whale. This incident highlights the need to complete that work as quickly as possible,” Professor Harrison said.

Further Information: Chris Stewart 0418432484