Quite a lot of marine wildlife out and about today for our whale watching cruise – we saw six humpback whales, about 30-40 inshore bottlenose dolphins, a big loggerhead turtle came up next to our boat, lots of gannets flying around feeding on baitfish, and we even saw a pair of green turtles mating at the surface of the water!
Moreton Bay really is quite a spectacular place for whale watching; you never know what you will find out here! We are located in an area of overlap between temperate and tropical zones so we’re getting both warm water habitats and species from further North as well as cool water habitats and animals from further South. We’re also quite close to where the continental shelf drops off into much deeper water just offshore of Cape Moreton, so we often see more deep-water oceanic animals as well. These factors make the Moreton Bay area incredibly diverse in terms of numbers of species found here.
That’s why Moreton Bay is protected as a marine national park. The marine park is managed as a multiple use area using a zoning system. So certain areas are fully protected green zones, habitat protection zones, or special protected zones for dugongs or other endangered animals. Other parts of the bay are open for commercial as well as recreational uses such as fishing and boating. So the management of the marine park is obviously up to rangers and policy makers but also up to each and every one of us, to use it responsibly and look after this delicate ecosystem.
We can all do our bit by putting rubbish in the bin and reducing it in the first place by reusing and recycling. Also fish responsibly, putting discarded hooks and lines in the bin, not in the water and keeping an eye out for animals around you to avoid accidentally hooking birds, dolphins or other wildlife. And if you like your boating or jetskiing, keep a good eye out for wildlife and slow down especially in areas like shallow sandbanks where dugongs and turtles live.