Australian Sea Lions. Credit: Peter Nicholas/DBCA
Australian Sea Lions. Credit: Peter Nicholas/DBCA
  • Public comment invited on draft management program for seal interactions in WA

The draft management program has been developed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) to provide a framework for decision making and to guide management of tourism, recreation and other human interaction activities affecting seals in WA state waters.

The draft management program outlines the following objectives for management of human interactions with seals in WA:

  1. improve the understanding of seal populations to inform management;
  2. promote public awareness, appreciation, and support for conservation of seals;
  3. manage pressures on seal populations through holistic management actions; and
  4. facilitate opportunities for safe and meaningful interactions with seals under a management framework.

The draft management program includes a proposed trial on in-water interaction tours with Australian sea lions.

The trial would bring a higher level of management of human interactions in key locations that receive high visitation, in partnership with existing tourism operators. The interaction tours would allow visitors to experience and appreciate these engaging animals in a managed way.

The aims of the trial would be to:

  • increase the management of interactions with seal populations through licensing of commercial tourism operations;
  • assess the suitability and safety of in-water interaction tours with seals to minimise and manage impacts on seals as well as mitigate risks to swimmers; and
  • establish a research and monitoring program to inform decision making and determine any impacts of commercial tourism operations on seals.

The management program will be informed by this public consultation process and finalised by DBCA with input from the Conservation and Parks Commission, relevant Aboriginal body/ies corporate, stakeholders from the tourism industry and marine scientists.

The public comment period closed on Tuesday 15 November 2022.

Thank you for your submissions.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Reece Whitby:

“Seals are incredibly intelligent and curious creatures, and a familiar sight along our coastline.

“Imagine interacting with seals in their own environment while playing a part in safeguarding their protection.

“We need to make sure safety is a priority for both swimmers and seals, while making WA a unique destination for magical wildlife experiences.”

Page reviewed 16 Nov 2022