__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 10

NEWS DESK

Dogs and dolphins ‘don’t mix’ DOLPHINS have become victims of their own popularity when they come close to shore in Western Port. After years of becoming an attraction at Balnarring for appearing to swim alongside racehorses being exercised in the shallows, there are now concerns about dogs also joining the dolphins in the water. Dolphin Research Centre executive director Jeff Weir said he had received reports of “dogs, paddlers and swimmers pestering dolphins in Western Port”. He had also received “many calls” about vessels in Port Phillip doing the same. In December, the DRI launched a campaign to persuade boaters to keep their distance from dolphins in Port Phillip and Western Port (“Going to water with social distancing” The News 20/12/20). “Dolphin Distancing is not just a quirky twist on COVID,” Mr Weir said. “We saw some appalling harassment of whales and dolphins on the few winter days this year when boats could get out between COVID lockdowns. Mr weir last week said dogs being near dolphins was “particularly concerning when very young calves are present”. “People often say that they have been there for years and their dogs have always swum out to the dolphins and the dolphins are still here - so what's the problem? “The issue is that many small interruptions to a dolphin mother's feeding, resting, nursing, protecting behaviours - albeit small in isolation add up to potentially threatening levels.” Mr Weir said dolphins may move as a result of stress “but, just like us, there is evidence that they will stay where the food is and put up with very stressful situations to the point that it takes a toll on them”. “Because it's so difficult to determine the limit of stress dolphins can cope with, it's best to

Signed up for safety: Harry and his father from Mount Martha have committed to follow the Dolphin Distancing program launched by the Dolphin Research Institute. Harry, who attends Mount Martha Primary, can be seen at: dolphinresearch.org.au/isiccheroes/

minimise stresses where we can,” he said. Approaches to address the issues in Western Port included changing “the social norm” so most people did the right thing; giving community talks; and starting a university intern and community research program. The study results would help the DRI “to better understand the dolphins use of Western Port and what areas are important, and the time they are spending feeding, resting, nursing, socialis-

ing or interacting with other species”. “This will be ongoing and help DELWP Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning) to budget for wildlife officers to focus on Western Port.” Regulations state that boats (including paddle craft) should not approach within 100 metres of a dolphin; jet skis must be at least 300m away; swimmers 30m; and dogs 300m. Fines can be up to $4000. Keith Platt

Easy access for all MATTING has been laid down at Mount Martha beach to help those in wheelchairs or with limited mobility get across the sand to the water. The matting is available at the beach daily and two MobiChairs are available on weekends until Easter Monday 5 April. Mornington Peninsula Shire has laid the matting as part of its Disability Inclusion Plan with help from Mount Martha Life Saving Club. The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said: “COVID-19 has created some challenges for us this year, but we’re working within the guidelines to give access for all to enjoy our beaches this summer. It’s our responsibility to keep everyone safe.” Higher than usual tides have mean matting at Mills Beach, Mornington, is no longer safe to have out, however, a beach wheelchair is available on weekends during Mornington Life Saving Club patrol hours. The shire says it is working to make the beaches accessible to everyone. Those wanting beach matting at their beach should talk to their local lifesaving club and encourage them to contact the shire. The shire says disability access is being improved at beaches through upgrades to parking, pathways and toilets. Audits for our beaches include accessible features in coastal plans. Cr Anthony Marsh said: “Our peninsula has an extensive range of accessible and inclusive activities including accessible beaches. We hope our community enjoys a safe summer at the beach this year.” Cr Steve Holland said: “We encourage all lifesaving clubs to work with us to provide matting and wheelchairs at more beaches across the peninsula. It’s a wonderful initiative to allow everyone to enjoy our beautiful beaches.” To view the live beach conditions, including the beach matting at Mount Martha visit: mmlsc. com.au/webcam To learn more about other accessible shire beaches visit: mornpen.vic.gov.au/accessiblerecreation

POINT of VIEW 2

1

POINT of view contributors have again recorded and illustrated the diversity of life on the Mornington Peninsula. Steve Howard watched the build up of storm clouds over Port Phillip from shire near Fishermans Beach, Mornington, 1; Glenys Slade was again drawn to the interactions between traders and shoppers at Mornington’s Wednesday street market, 2; Amanda Thayer spotted a shining bronze-cuckoo while walking the boardwalk alongside Balcombe Creek, Mount Martha, 3; Liane Willoughby spotted the respectfully distant crowd at Mothers Beach, Mornington; and Adam Richmond saw beauty in the early morning mist from Arthurs Seat, 5.

5

Readers can continue to send and share their own pictures, with a short caption, to: pointofview@mpnews.com.au

PAGE 10

Southern Peninsula News

3 February 2021

3

4

Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

Southern Peninsula News 2 February 2021  

Southern Peninsula News 2 February 2021

Southern Peninsula News 2 February 2021  

Southern Peninsula News 2 February 2021

Advertisement