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Are killer whales cruising our coastline?

A killer whale like this one was reportedly seen by a fisherman off the coast of Ballina yesterday.
A killer whale like this one was reportedly seen by a fisherman off the coast of Ballina yesterday. Sea World

KILLER whales have reportedly been sighted along our coastline yesterday as the region welcomes the start of the whale migration.

A fisherman, who didn't want to be named, told Ballina Fishermen's Co-op staff that he saw a number of true killer whales while fishing near the shelf off the coast of Ballina.

The fisherman said he thought they were the traditional orcas because of their large dorsal fins - a key feature which differentiates the creatures from False Killer Whales.

Marine ecologist, Daniel Bucher said "it's a very special thing" to spot killer whales here on the North Coast.

"It's not common but it's not completely unexpected either," Dr Bucher said.

"They've certainly been around for a long time."

Northern Rivers trawlers and whale watching operators shared mixed encounters with different species of whales.

The last killer whale spanner crab trawler, John Goblin said he saw was off the coast of Lennox Head about five years ago.

Mr Goblin said he's seen about three in the two decades he's lived on the Northern Rivers.

About 10 years ago, Mr Goblin said he saw a pod of orcas eating a baby humpback while fishing on the North Coast.

Blue Bay Whale Watching owner, Rod Gray said he's heard Killer Whales have been sighted within tight-knit fishing circles but he has yet to see one for himself.

He said he's seen mainly the well-known passers by, the Humpback and on occasion Southern Right and Minke whales.

But Evans Head Fishing Charters skipper, Rob Foster said he's never seen a Killer Whale in his 40 years on the water.

He did say he's seen False Killer Whales around New Guinea.

Topics:  ballina killer whale northern rivers environment whales whale watching


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