The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has banned seal feeding at Fisherman’s Wharf. Contributed photo

Seal feeding banned at Fisherman’s Wharf

Authority says feeding wildlife damages ecosystems

Tourists and residents who flock to Fisherman’s Wharf to feed the seals throughout the year will no longer be able to do so.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, who owns and manages Fisherman’s Wharf, announced Wednesday a ban on feeding wildlife, including seals, at the popular tourist spot that overlooks the Inner Harbour.

According to the harbour authority, research by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has shown that hand-feeding marine animals damages ecosystems, habitating wildlife and affects their ability to thrive in natural envrionments. Feeding the seals has also become a public safety hazard, attracting other aggressive wildlife like river otters and gulls to the dock.

“We know that the practice of hand-feeding marine wildlife from our docks is dangerous and unsustainable,” said Al-Nashair Charania, envrionmental projects coordinator at the harbour authority in a release.

“Our goal with this is to help change public behaviour over time, in alignment with measures taken by regulators including Fisheries and Oceans.”

kendra.wong@vicnews.com