Today, the SFI released a newsletter update outlining the measure and mandatory requirements for boating, avoidance and closures. We are documenting it here for reference. We’d like to thank the SFI for making this information concise, and available to the general public.
With the season underway and SRKW now spending time in our waters, all should be familiar with recently implemented measures to help protect and aid the whales while they move around the Salish Sea and Juan de Fuca Strait.
WHALES INITIATIVE: PROTECTING SOUTHERN RESIDENT KILLER WHALES – INFORMATION BROCHURE PDF DOWNLOAD
The Government of Canada (GOC) has taken steps to protect and recover the SRKW population. On May 10, the GOC announced 2019 SRKW recovery measures. New measures for vessels to follow include:
Effective June 1 – October 31, 2019
- A mandatory 400 metre approach distance for all killer whales throughout SRKW critical habitat, with the ability of the Minister of Transport to authorize commercial whale watching companies to approach other killer whale ecotypes to 200 metres, subject to certain conditions.
- Mandatory interim sanctuaries with restrictions on fishing and vessel activity in Swiftsure Bank, south Saturna Island and west of Pender Island.
Effective August 1 – October 31, 2019:
Mandatory area-based fisheries closures for recreational and commercial salmon in key foraging areas.
Other actions to take while SRKW are present in BC waters in greater numbers:
- A voluntary go slow and fishery avoidance zone, asking boaters to reduce their speed to less than 7 knots and avoid fishing when within 1,000 metres of a whale in the Enhanced Management Areas that have been identified through the Gulf Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Mouth of the Fraser River.
- Voluntary measures asking vessel operators to reduce noise by turning echo sounders off when not in use and turning their engines to neutral idle when within 400 metres of a whale.
- Interim Order for the Protection of Killer Whales
- Frequently Asked Questions: Interim Order
- Whales Initiative: Protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whale
Protecting species at risk is a responsibility shared by all Canadians and the federal government is committed to working with Indigenous people, provincial and territorial governments, and relevant industry stakeholders to achieve this goal.
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