Beachgoers can expect to see more young seals in the coming months, as an influx of juvenile seals come ashore along coastline.

Summer is the time when juvenile seals arrive at local beaches, after being separated from their mothers who have new pups to raise.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding beachgoers that these seals need their space to rest and recover.  

In recent weeks, young seals have already come ashore at Barwon Heads, Point Lonsdale, Torquay, Port Fairy and Portland.

DELWP Barwon South West’s Program Manager Compliance Operations Mark Breguet said: “Some of these seals will be exhausted, but it’s important to remember that they are learning how to survive without their mothers.”

“While we understand that seeing a seal in poor condition may be upsetting, approaching the seal or trying to move it will cause further stress for the animal.”

“As seals are wild animals and protected wildlife, we have to give them the space they need.”

“It’s especially important for people to keep their dogs away from seals, as dogs and seals are a dangerous mix.”

“As coastal areas become more populated, we’re seeing increasing numbers of dogs on our beaches.”

“Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to predict the way that dogs will react to seals. In the past, there have been instances of gentle-natured dogs becoming aggressive, and attacking seals.”

“If you’re lucky enough to spot seals at our beaches, then following these rules will make watching seals a safe and fun experience.”

The following conditions and minimum approach distances apply:

  • Do not approach within 30 metres of a seal on land.
  • Dogs are not permitted within 50 metres of a seal on land.
  • At boat ramps or piers, stay at least five metres away from a seal.
  • Never attempt to feed seals. Seals can quickly become dependent on humans, and in some situations can become a nuisance or even dangerous.

It’s an offence to feed seals and/or to breach the minimum approach distances, with both offences carrying a maximum penalty of a fine up to $3,171.

If you see injured or distressed marine wildlife please call the AGL Marine Response Unit on 1300 AGL MRU (1300 245 678) or DELWP on 136 186.