HomeNewsSFI Update: Whales Initiative

SFI Update: Whales Initiative

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.


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.

Download the full brochure here

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.

The 2019 SRKW recovery measures education brochure is linked here. For more information on the 2019 measures please follow these links:

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.


Sign up for the SFI newsletter to get the latest announcements, here..


  1. Thanks so much for posting this very important reminder. The graphics are very simple and easy to follow, and this helps all of us boaters do our part to stay well back from killer whales so they can successfully hunt their prey. Vessel noise and physical disturbance is thought to be one of the reasons why Southern Resident Killer Whales are struggling.

  2. DFO Minister is using SRKW to punish sport fishers. We are not even allowed to keep OUR hatchery fish that we paid for!
    This is punishment for BC coastal communities using the SRKW to stop the TMX pipeline expansion.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.