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MEDIA RELEASE - Glenelg Shire celebrates success of whale season

4 October 2018

Community members, tourist advocates and whale watchers alike are celebrating the record breaking success of the 2018 whale watching season in the Glenelg Shire as the few remaining visiting whales linger in local waters.

A total of 115 Southern Right Whale, 30 Humpback Whale and three Orca Whale sightings were reported off coastlines near Portland, Narrawong, Cape Nelson and the Cape Bridgewater area this year during the annual whale migration period during June to September. These figures have set a new record for annual whale sightings, confirming that it has been the busiest whale watching season in the shire yet.

Portland Visitor Information Centre visitor services officer Corey Williams, who is co-administrator of the WhaleMail Facebook page, said it was the support from the local community that had made 2018 the most successful year for whale watching.

“Portland is certainly on the map as Victoria’s whale watching capital,” Mr Williams said.

“We’ve noticed that the community has been more actively engaged and more eager than ever to report whale sightings, with daily notifications from curious whale watchers coming to the WhaleMail page. It’s just been fantastic to see the community taking full ownership.

“In particular, it has been the generous support from photographers and whale spotters that have really helped this whale season to be the most celebrated one. We have had many dedicated photographers sharing spectacular whale photos, which has really helped to build Portland’s profile as a whale watching capital.”

Mr Williams said increased media attention and the launch of the new look WhaleMail website linked to Portland’s major tourism website had also contributed to the increase in notification of whale sightings and therefore public support.

“The revamped Whalemail webpage has helped to get the word out about the whale watching opportunities along Portland’s coastline and helped community members keep up-to-date with whale sightings. This season more than 100 email alerts of whale sightings were sent to our WhaleMail webpage ,” he said.

“Furthermore, the national media attention, with visiting whales and their calves featuring in national media outlets such as the Herald Sun, has created a domino effect, with the public showing a greater appreciation of these majestic mammals.

“Following on from this unprecedented success, I expect we can anticipate an influx of visitors to our region next year as they attempt to catch a glimpse of these creatures in action.”

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