Some more images from Vancouver Island - Orcas/Killer Whales

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 19,792
Re: The regulations

rogerstpierre wrote:

Chris R-UK wrote:

The Canadian Department of Fisheries regulations:

These distances differ significantly from the ones in the post above.

How so? The regulation at the link you provided stipulates a new 400 metres approach distance is mandatory for all killer whales in Southern Resident killer whale critical habitat, otherwise 200m at minimum, which is what is stipulated in the post that you are refering to. This post infers that the images posted were taken at much closer distances than 200m unless of course they are heavily cropped. Which is the case?

The distances relating to orcas are correct, but the regulations specifically say 100m for other whales, dolphins and porpoises. There doesn't seem to be any minimum distances specified for seals, sealions and sea otters, although all the boat operators that I have been with have also been very respectful of these as well.

The statement in Mr MacFarlane's post "Since 2018, it has not been permitted to approach by boat within 200 m of any sea mammal on Canada’s Pacific coast" is not supported by the regulations above.  He posted a shot of a humpback implying that the 200m limit applied to humpbacks as well.  It very clearly doesn't.  I believe that he is also a year out, the new regulations were introduced in May 2019, not 2018.

I am an orca enthusiast and the leaders and other members of our tour were also orca enthusiasts.  We wouldn't have been on the trip if we weren't concerned about the future for orcas, all over the planet.  There are threats to all of them - global warming, reductions in fish stocks, the catastrophic decrease in shark numbers, toxins in the oceans, etc, etc, etc.  What is happening to the Southern Residents may be happening to other populations (including Offshore populations), but we just don't know about them because the BC/Puget Sound populations are then only ones whose numbers have ever been studied.  As far as the rest of the world in concerned, we are in the same situation as BC was in 1970, when machine gums were being installed along Johnstone Strait to kill them and before Michael Biggs started identifying and counting orca numbers.

During the trip we never looked for, never saw and never photographed Southern Residents.  All my shots are of  Transients or Northern Residents.

The boats from which these shots were taken were both crewed by members of the orca research community.  There is no way that these individuals would have contravened the regulations or harmed or endangered whales or any other sea mammals.

In the posts that were deleted, Mr MacFarlane threatened me with being prosecuted for having been on a whale watching boat that transgressed the regulations and said that I could be extradited from the UK for prosecution in Canada.  Now he is posting incorrect information about marine mammal watching in BC.  While I have total sympathy for his, and presumably your, very sensible concerns about Southern Residents, this behaviour does not help the cause.

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Chris R

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