File photo

Whale-watching industry endorses new viewing distances

The Pacific Whale Watching Association has endorsed the federal government’s intention to keep boats farther from whales. The industry group represents 32 ecotourism operators in the Pacific Northwest, including many whale watching companies.

A statement forwarded to the Peninsula News Review said that “in the spirit of being precautionary and proactive the PWWA is updating its comprehensive operational guidelines to immediately reflect a 200-metre approach distance to SRKWs in the Canadian portion of the Salish Sea.”

The change is in response to an Oct. 26 announcement from Dominic Leblanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, who asked whale watching operators to voluntarily abide by a 200 metre following distance until final regulatory measures can be implemented before the next whale watching season.

Boat noise is considered a major threat to whales, as it is in the same frequency range as echolocation, which interferes with their ability to find food. Previously, boaters were only to remain 100 metres away.

PWWA said that it had already had internal discussions to increase the following distance since the U.S. already has a 200-yard regulation in place, and the statement noted that harmonizing the regulations was one reason they decided to endorse it.

In an email to the Peninsula News Review, Ben Duthie of Prince of Whales Whale Watching wrote that the owners and the executive of the PWWA will meet in Victoria on Monday to update whale watching guidelines, and that there will be future meetings to train operators on the new distances.

The PWWA now want to shift to other conservation efforts.

”Now that everyone agrees on the revised viewing distance requirements, PWWA membership feels strongly that ALL efforts must now be placed on chinook salmon protection and recovery effective immediately to increase prey availability for the SRKWs.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accident on Sooke Road slows traffic in both directions

According to Drive BC, it is unknown when site will be cleared

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

West Shore RCMP arrests five suspects in multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking investigation

Cocaine, prohibited loaded handgun, weapons, stolen vehicles seized

Saanich police identify suspect in Brydon Park assault

No charges sworn, no arrest made as of July 9

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

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

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Time to protect B.C.’s unique glass sponge reefs, conservation group says

Climate change is a “serious and immediate threat” to the 9,000-year old sponges: study

Time to protect B.C.’s unique glass sponge reefs, conservation group says

Climate change is a “serious and immediate threat” to the 9,000-year old sponges: study

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Most Read