Victorian whale watchers put on notice

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Rule-breaking whale watchers are on notice in Victoria, as the state's Conservation Regulator launches a crackdown to keep the animals safe.

There has been a spike in reports of people threatening whales' health and welfare, according to the regulator, as videos on social media platforms including TikTok and Instagram show swimmers, surfers and boaties getting too close to the animals.

Authorised officers are looking into several online videos, as well as nine reports of boats too close to whales.

This season, 125 southern right whales have been spotted along Victoria's coast, including seven cow-calf pairs in the state's southwest, according to the Arthur Rylah Institute's Whaleface project.

Rule-breakers have prompted the regulator to do on-water patrols in September to ensure people are keeping a safe distance from whales and other marine animals.

The officers will target known hotspots from Cowes to Portland, the regulator said.

"We want to thank the community who have already flagged social media videos with us and reported people getting too close to marine mammals," Chief Conservation Regulator Kate Gavens said.

"We're lucky in Victoria to have whales so close to shore this time of year, but we need to ensure all sightings are from the minimum distance away to protect the health of our whales and community safety."

Under wildlife laws, swimmers and surfers must stay at least 50 metres away from whales, boats must keep 200 metres clear, and jet skis 300 metres.

An exclusion zone for powered watercraft and drones also applies at Warrnambool's Logans Beach in the state's southwest until October 31.

The beach is home to the only established southern right whale nursery in southeast Australia.

Anyone who ignores the minimum distances or exclusion zone could face fines of nearly $3700.