Whale watching season arrives on West Coast

Whale watching season has arrived again in South Australia and people are being reminded to enjoy the sight of these animals from a distance.

Between May and October southern right whales can be spotted along the South Australian coastline, including at the Head of Bight and at Fowlers Bay on the Far West Coast.

The Department for Environment and Water reminds people that approach limits are in place in South Australian waters to protect the whales.

Vessels must not approach whales any closer than 100 metres, but additional restrictions apply where whale calves are present.

Drone operators must not fly within 300 metres of a whale.

Anyone who does not adhere to approach limits face expiation fees of $315.

The Far West Coast Marine Park's Restricted Access Zone and Marine Mammal Protection Zone are both off-limits to boats from May 1 to October 31 to assist southern right whales in navigating their way to the head of the Great Australian Bight for the breeding season.

Marine Parks Western Region Coordinator Dirk Holman said the closure helped to keep the state's marine life undisturbed during this time.

"Southern right whales migrate to the Head of the Bight each season to mate, give birth and nurse their young calves in calm, protected waters," he said.

Department of Environment and Water spokesperson Chris Thomas said the annual migration of whales to local waters occurred during cooler months so they could mate, give birth and nurse their young.

He said about 400,000 people took part in whale watching each year in South Australia.

"You can enjoy watching these magnificent whales breaching, body-rolling and tail-lobbing from on-shore viewing platforms or by booking a boat tour with a private tour operator," he said.