Fine threat for approaching summer seals

Beachgoers risk an on-the-spot fine if they get too close to native seals basking along Victoria's coastline.

A leopard seal has already been spotted sunbaking at Rye Ocean Beach in Melbourne's south this week, while there are reports of an elephant seal swimming in a canal at Portland, in the state's west.

A fur seal has also been entangled near Apollo Bay and Zoos Victoria's Marine Response Unit is working to remove the animal.

Victoria's Conservation Regulator says its authorised workers are working with other relevant groups to monitor the welfare and movements of the beached seals.

But visitors must steer clear of the animals as on-the-spot fines of $277 can be handed to anyone caught getting too close.

People must remain at least 30 metres away from the native animals when walking along the beach, while that distance increases to 50m if they're with their dog.

In the water, swimmers and surfers must keep five metres away while boats need to stay at least 30m away and jet skis should keep a distance of 50m.

It is also illegal to feed marine mammals any food, including fish scraps.

"We know it's exciting to see seals in the wild," Conservation Regulator acting chief Wayne Robins said.

"But for your safety and to protect these wild seals, we need the public to give them some space by obeying all distance rules and not feeding wildlife.

"We want to thank the community for their reports and concerns and encourage people who witness anyone getting too close to seals to report it to Crime Stoppers."