Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters tomorrow.
Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters tomorrow. SCOTT POWICK

Is it you, Migaloo?

CONFUSION has erupted over whether the white whale travelling up the east coast of Australia is really Migaloo.

Sea World director of marine sciences Trevor Long told the ABC that he believed the whale was actually Son of Migaloo.

"I've been fortunate enough to have about six experiences with Migaloo," he told the ABC.

"Migaloo is a much larger animal, it's about 12 or 13 metres long, it's a fully grown adult.

"This animal that we've experienced today is much smaller, probably around 10 metres long."

"This animal doesn't have that same level of skin damage," he said.

"It's quite identifiable that it's more pure in its whiteness.

On top of the doubt from Sea World there was also rumours filtering yesterday that another white whale had been spotted off the coast near Newcastle.

Despite all of this, Migaloo or Son of Migaloo, whichever whale it is, is expected to pass by the Sunshine Coast tomorrow afternoon.

Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles urged boaties and aircraft operators to steer clear of any white whale they happen to spot in Queensland waters - whether or not it's the mighty Migaloo.

"These are special management marine mammals which means boats and prohibited vessels must not approach within 500 metres and aircraft cannot approach within 610 metres without authorisation," Dr Miles said.

"These rules are in place to protect the whales and give them safe passage during their migration along the Queensland coast.

"It's what every whale watcher dreams of, but it is really important that this animal's space is respected and no undue distress is caused."

Dr Miles said the white whale was reported to be smaller than Migaloo but there was no way of knowing without genetic testing whether they were related.

The maximum penalty for intentionally moving too close to a whale is $20,113.50 or an on the spot fine of $609.