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.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: Barb Desjardins clinches another win, will serve fourth term as Esquimalt mayor

Three new councillors will join three veterans at Esquimalt Township council

EDITORIAL: Voters across Greater Victoria embrace progressive ideas, new course in regional governance

Election results also reveal regional fissure between core and outer communities

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Voters in Saanich and Victoria support creation of citizens’ assembly on amalgamation

Group will continue to keep pressure on Victoria and Saanich councils after amalgamation referendum

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

UPDATE: Lisa Helps re-elected as mayor of Victoria

Nine people were seeking the mayor’s seat for the City of Victoria and 29 candidates hoped to be chosen for council

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

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

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Most Read