Despite some media reports the endangered southern right whale has returned to open water, the mammal remains in Wallis Lake.
ORRCA vice-president, Jools Farrell speculated the whale could have swum up the Wallamba River during the night and had returned to the western side of the Forster Tuncurry bridge earlier this morning.
"It is definitely still there in virtually the same place as yesterday," Ms Farrell said.
She said the whale was first spotted this morning at approximately 7.30am.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Maritime Services, NSW Fisheries and MidCoast Council are back on the water advising boaties, SUPs and kayaks to keep their distance.
Earlier today NPWS issued a special 500 metre protection order preventing boats, aircraft and drones as well as swimmers from approaching the whale.
The order extends to people congregating on the Forster Tuncurry bridge - which the whale must pass under to return to the ocean.
This is the first time an order of this kind has been made and fines apply.
The south eastern Australia population of the southern right whale is highly endangered, with around 270 individuals left including only 68 breeding females.
As few as 30 southern right whales enter NSW waters every year.
Hundreds of spectators have lined Wallis Lake, while a handful of boats and SUPs cruise the water to watch a 13-15m southern right whale negotiate its way back to open water.
The mammal was first spotted at approximately 7.30am this morning, Tuesday, June 29 on the western side of the Forster Tuncurry bridge cruising towards oysters leases at The Paddocks before swimming back to the bridge.
Some spectators speculated the bridge's pylons were interfering with its natural navigation instincts.
"It's been backwards and forwards; it's done about 10 circuits down to the bridge and back to the oyster leases," local photographer, Shane Chalker said.
"But, it looks very calm and relaxed," he said.
"It seems to be able to navigate the sandbanks."
A long-time resident of the Great Lakes, Mr Chalker said he had only known of whales coming into the harbour on two other occasions.
"They were humpbacks and they didn't go past the bridge."
ORRCA vice-president, Jools Farrell urged boaties, drone operators, swimmers, jet skis, kayaks and paddleboarders to stay at least 100 metres away from the whale.
"Even better, stay away completely, enjoy watching it from a distance," she said.
She said both National Parks and Wildlife, Maritime Services and the Water Police have been on the scene for much of the day to ensure onlookers kept their distance.
"The important message is not to go anywhere near this whale and spook it," she said.
"Respect the whale and give it space.
"And a drone should be no less than 100 metres above, and they cannot hover above the whale."
Even better, stay away completely, enjoy watching it from a distance.- Jules Farrell
Ideally, ORRCA would prefer no drones were flown in the area.
"We don't want it to go up the (Wallamba) river further."
Ms Farrell said the whale appeared to be in good health and didn't have any entanglement.
Known to stay close to the shoreline, in shallower water than their humpback brothers, Ms Farrell said the whale could be a male looking for a female, or it could be a female looking for somewhere to birth.
"This is another reason to stay away; respect and give it space."
And, at the same time, she urged onlookers lining both the bridge and the shoreline to remain quiet, saying they had incredible auditory senses.
"It is doing what southern rights do at this time of year."
She was confident the mammal would eventually find its way to open water, much like four years ago when southern right came into Sydney Harbour and made its way to The Spit.
Ms Farrell said whales coming into harbours was not a common incidence.
Adam Fitzroy from MidCoast Aerial Photography sent his drone up to identify the mammal on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS).
Renowned for his marine photographs, Adam was tasked with getting an ID on the rough patches of white skin on the animal's head.
Adam explained this could be used by scientists and marine biologists to identify whether or not they have come across this particular whale on previous travels.
"Southern right whales are expert navigators and there is certain speculation that the whale is here seeking a safe haven in order to give birth," he said.
"Please give it space."
Adam has been invited by both NPWS and ORRCA to assist with potential rescue operations and monitoring the wellbeing of wildlife through aerial imagery on several occasions.
He emphasised this had always been done from a safe distance.
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