June 23, 2022

Marine MammalsWatching whales and other marine mammals in their natural surroundings is exciting. It gives us an opportunity to better appreciate these beautiful animals, but if we aren’t cautious, we risk disturbing and even harming marine wildlife (or ourselves).

Of note, there are additional protections in place for endangered species. For example, on the BC Coast, the federal government’s protection measures for the critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, are in effect. In addition, the Marine Mammal Regulations are in effect all year long across the country. As watercraft users, we’re required to be aware of these regulations and to follow them – it’s the law!

Killer Whale protection measures on the BC coast:

Stay 400m away from all killer whales between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet. Stay 200m away in all other Canadian Pacific waters.

No boating or fishing in Interim Sanctuary Zones off of Saturna Island and Pender Island from June 1 to November 30, 2022.

Slow down to no more than 10 knots in Seasonal Slowdown Areas in portions of Swiftsure Bank from June 1 to November 30, 2022.

Be aware of fishing closures in Southern Resident Killer Whale key foraging areas in a portion of Swiftsure Bank, Strait of Juan de Fuca, southern Gulf Islands and Mouth of the Fraser River.

Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered. They struggle to find enough food to eat and are vulnerable to contaminants. Noise and disruption from boats interfere with their hunt for prey. Over the past year there have been two deaths and one new calf in the Southern Resident Killer Whale population, bringing the total to 74 individuals.

Learn more and find maps of these protection measures at: https://www.canada.ca/southern-resident-killer-whales

Endangered species protections in the St. Lawrence Estuary:

● Stay 400m away from whales, dolphins and porpoises that are endangered or threatened under the Species at Risk Act, including beluga whales and blue whales.

● The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park has regulations that align with the Marine Mammal Regulations.
All other whales, dolphins and porpoises:

● Stay 100m away from all other whales, dolphins and porpoises (unless they are resting or with a calf, then keep 200m away)

Remember to always Be Whale Wise:

● In addition to these measures, boaters and fishers are encouraged to Be Whale Wise and follow the voluntary guidelines when in the presence of whales and other marine mammals.

Reporting violations or incidents involving marine mammals

● Report any violations or incidents involving marine mammals (that you observed or were involved in) to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 24/7 Observe, Record, Report Line: 1-800-465-4336

Learn more about your local waterways:

Stay connected to your local waterways and learn more about the species that call the area home. On the BC Coast we have more than just Killer Whales! We share the water with Humpback Whales, Grey Whales, Harbour Porpoises and more.

Looking for a place to start? Take a (virtual) trip across Canada to learn more about at-risk whales and why quiet waters are key for their survival


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