Whale watching companies in Victoria are raising their surcharges to support salmon conservation initiatives, and encouraging other businesses to do the same. (File photo)

Victoria whale watching companies urge other businesses to do more for whales

Eagle Wing Tours and Prince of Whales recently upped their environmental fees for ocean research

Local whale watching businesses are increasing their environmental fees to fund research and support for whales and salmon, and are calling on other businesses to do the same.

Earlier this week, Prince of Whales announced a multi-year $1 million investment into orca conservation by increasing their conservation fees from $2 to $5. This funding will go towards orca-based science programs and chinook salmon recovery projects in B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. whale-watching group uses surcharge to boost salmon, science for killer whales

Eagle Wing Tours has charged a $2 Wild 4 Whales sustainability fee since 2013, with funds going towards three projects: the organization’s own Wild 4 Whales Foundation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Salish Sea Marine Survival project. As of Dec. 1, they have also increased their sustainability fee to $5 per person.

Additionally, since 2009 the company has been carbon neutral, and since 2011 been part of the 1% For the Planet initiative, as have the majority of whale watching companies in Victoria. In total, the company has donated more than $450,000 since 2012.

ALSO READ: Victoria activists stage orca vigil for J35

“I applaud Prince of Whales for taking on the environment fee,” said Eagle Wing co-owner Brett Soberg. “But it’s a great opportunity for anyone in business to raise money to do a bunch of good work, why should it just be the whale watching community? It’s a great opportunity for everyone to help.”

Soberg said originally instating the fees was a no-brainer, and that guest responses has been very positive.

“Not one person has complained, and many people wanted to donate more,” Soberg said. “That’s a great problem to have.”

Soberg said that while many times whale watching companies are blamed for harming local whales, whose populations are steadily declining, in actuality, they are at the forefront of education and advocacy for healthier oceans.

VIDEO: Humpback rubs against whale-watching boat

“We’ve made these decisions along the way because it’s right by the fish, and it’s right by the whales,” he said. “As the case with any business, sustainability should be deeply ingrained in your business model. We all have a job to either influence positively or negatively, and whale watching has always been and will continue to be a platform to educate half a million people a year about the values of the healthy ocean.”

READ MORE: Island businesses concerned over potential economic loss if whale habitat extended

Soberg argued that local and national governments are simply not doing enough to help the dire situation and that more locals needed to step in and rally in an effort to save the salmon and whale populations, whether they volunteer at a hatchery or advocate for ocean health.

“These projects are all short-term solutions, but the whales need it. It’s a crisis right now,” Soberg said.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

City of Victoria accepts $1 million cheque from seniors home developer

Milliken Development put forward the cash to the Housing Reserve Fund

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read