Wild encounters on the Coral Coast

The northern migration of humpback whales along the WA coast is well underway.

The opportunity to swim with these majestic animals as they make their way to their breeding grounds is a bucket list item for many visitors to the Ningaloo Marine Park and the 2020 season coincides with the release of the State Government’s Management Program for humpback whale interactions.

Announcing the Management Program, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson MLC said swimming with humpback whales was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The only place in Western Australia where this can be done is with a licensed operator on the Ningaloo Coast,” he said

“Visitors to the region also have the chance to spot other wildlife that call the spectacular Ningaloo Coast home, such as whale sharks, manta rays, dugong and turtles.”

The management program has been developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Consultation has been wide-ranging, with input from the Gnulli joint management partners, the Ningaloo Coast Joint Management Body, the Conservation and Parks Commission, the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Advisory Committee, other stakeholders from the tourism industry and scientists specialising in humpback whales.

The program focuses on commercial in-water humpback whale interactions from Exmouth and Coral Bay but also considers recreational activities, whale watching and other operations in the region.

It establishes a framework for the transition to, and management of, a licensed in-water humpback whale interaction industry.

The project received grant funding from the Australian Government through the Australian Heritage Grants Program. The management program can be viewed here.