Plan to extend whale watching in Great Sandy Marine Park

A PROPOSAL to allow whale watching in the entire Great Sandy Marine Park is a welcome suggestion but some operators think the State Government is missing the point.

The government just called for feedback on the proposal, along with a similar suggestion to remove restrictions for permit holders from the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Feedback from operators and councillors yesterday was mixed.

Some said it would make little difference to the Bay-based fleet; others want more consultation.

"It would make it easier if it's a rough day - one of the very rare ones. If we see a whale down the strait, I think it would be great to stop down there so we're not making people sick," Brian Perry, who pioneered whale watching in Hervey Bay with his wife, Jill, said.

But according to Mr Perry, whale populations in areas away from the traditional viewing zones, such as Platypus Bay, were not substantial.

Whalesong owner Jason Brigden agreed and said he considered the proposal left-field.

"It just goes to show they are completely not informed on what the issues are and on what we're trying to do," Mr Brigden told the Chronicle.

Tourism and regional marketing councillor Stuart Taylor said the changes would not have much of an impact on the whale watching industry on the Fraser Coast.

"The most important changes that the industry needs to ensure sustainability is greater access to the western side of Fraser Island."

Topics:  hervey bay industry state government whale watching

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