Australian jet skier fined for harassing dolphins

A Montrose man has to donate $500 to dolphin research after yesterday pleading guilty to harassing dolphins while riding his jet ski in Port Phillip Bay.

The 45-year-old can avoid a conviction by making the donation to the Dolphin Research Institute, after pleading guilty to three offences under the Wildlife Act 1975 and Wildlife (Marine Mammal) Regulations 2009.

Department of Sustainability and Environment wildlife officer Emily Gibson said the man was placed on a court diversion program, meaning a conviction would not be recorded against him if he made the donation and complied with a four-month good behaviour agreement.

“This case sends a clear message to recreational jet ski and boat operators that seals, dolphins and whales are protected wildlife and you must stay outside the prescribed minimum approach distance,” Ms Gibson said.

“We are privileged to have dolphins in the bay and we want to ensure they remain here for current and future generations to enjoy.”

The man must also pay the DSE’s court costs.

The case arose from an incident on December 14, 2010, when the man was seen approaching a pod of common dolphins while riding his jet ski in Port Phillip Bay near Olivers Hill.

He came within 50m of the dolphins and stopped the jet ski directly in the dolphins’ direction of travel.

Jet skis are classified as prohibited vessels and not permitted to be within 300m of dolphins or whales.

 

Source: Lilydale and Yarra Valley Reader

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