Whales a scarcity, but more will come
AS THE whale watching season fast approaches, marine experts say there have been fewer whales than usual migrating north towards the Tweed Coast, with only 50-60 whales sighted so far.
But Coolangatta Whale Watch director Ray Hewitt said there is no reason to fear as a "bumper season" for whale watching has been predicted.
"So far only 50-60 whales have been spotted migrating from Sydney and normally at this time of the year we're looking at hundreds of them," Mr Hewitt said.
"However we're looking forward to a bumper season and I'm led to believe 40,000 whales are coming."
Mr Hewitt, who took over the business a year ago, said the whale watching season officially kicks off on June 1 as whales travel north towards Hervey Bay, where they give birth and turn around.
"On the migration up north they are usually 1-2km offshore, but coming back with the calves they come up to 500m out and people can see them from the shore," he said.
Mr Hewitt said he believed the whale watching industry provided a much-needed boost for the Tweed tourism industry.
"We're looking forward to a good season and by operating from the Tavern Marina in the Tweed, people will have a meal at the tavern, which is going to introduce more money into the area," he said.
Destination Tweed chief executive Rose Wright said whale watching was "very important" for tourism in the area.
"Many visitors from the southern states as well as Queensland come for the season. For people who don't want to go out on a boat, Point Danger offers an alternative viewing platform," she said.
"Rumour has it that the whales are closer to shore in New South Wales."