the Fisheries Act, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for the
management and protection of marine mammals. The Marine Mammal Regulations specifically
prohibit the disturbance of whales.
Killer Whales off
Robson Bight, Vancouver Island
The DFO has developed guidelines for whale
watching in Johnstone Strait, where killer whales are found on a daily basis each
summer. It is strongly recommended that vessel operators follow these guidelines
for all whale species.
or swimming with whales constitutes a type of approach to whales and falls under
these guidelines and regulations. It is illegal to hunt, chase, disperse, drive
or herd pods or individual whales.
conscious of the effect of your actions on the whales. Be familiar with the distances
required and activities that will disturb and interfere with whales. Whale watching
activities should not take place in Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve.
whales from the side, not from the front or the rear.|
no closer than 100 metres and shift your motor into neutral or idle.|
noise levels down - no horns, whistles or racing of motors.|
your motor only after the whales are more than 100 metres from your vessel.|
the area slowly, gradually accelerating when you are more than 300 metres from
and depart slowly, avoiding sudden changes in speed or direction. Do not "leapfrog."|
disturbing groups of resting whales.|
low speeds and constant direction if travelling parallel to whales.|
whales are travelling close to shore, avoid crowding them near the shore or coming
between the whales and the shore.|
the time spent with any group of whales to less than 30 minutes at a time when
within 100 to 200 metres of whales.|
there is more than one vessel at the same observation site, be sure to avoid any
boat position that would result in encircling the whales.|
the time spent and the number of vessels with any one group of whales.|
time, as above, and then move out to allow other vessels access to good viewing
activities by maintaining contact with other vessels, and ensure that all operators
are aware of the whale watching guidelines.|
to study whales should check with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure
their proposed study activity is permissible and to determine whether or not they
will require a scientific licence.
For research activities that may require entry to Robson Bight (Michael Bigg)
Ecological Reserve, researchers should contact B.C. Parks.
convictions for contravention of the Fisheries Act or its regulations carry a
fine of up to $100,000 a prison term up to one year, or both. Indictable convictions
carry a fine of up to $500,000, prison terms of up to two years, or both. (Fisheries
with the permission of Fisheries
and Oceans Canada.