Help protect killer whales
Description: Help protect killer whales
Help protect killer whales
Know before you go
Canadian laws and guidelines for boating, fishing, and paddling around killer whales
Keep 400 m away from all killer whales it’s the law
Exceptions apply for authorized vessels with a purple authorized vessel (AV) flag. Do not follow them.
Do not enter Interim Sanctuary Zones (ISZ) it’s the law
Penalties for violations may apply.
Human-powered vessels may transit directly through a 20 m corridor along the shoreline of the Pender and Saturna Island ISZs.
No salmon fishing it’s the law
No recreational and commercial salmon fishing in the area-based fishery closures in the Juan de Fuca Strait, Swiftsure Bank and Southern Gulf Islands.
Be Whale Wise
Stop fishing when within 1,000 m of killer whales.
Reduce speed to less than 7 knots when within 1,000 m of the nearest marine mammal.
When safe to do so, turn off fish finders and echo sounders.
Place engine in neutral idle and allow animals to pass if your vessel is not in compliance with the approach distance regulations.
Map of south coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Marine Mammal Regulations apply year-round in Canadian Pacific waters
Keep your distance it’s the law
- 200 m away from all killer whales in BC, outside designated 400 m approach areas.
- 200 m away from all whales, dolphins and porpoises when in resting position or with a calf.
- 100 m away from all other whales, dolphins and porpoises.
Stay 400 m away from killer whales
In all southern BC coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet. In effect until May 31, 2022.
Vessels with a purple authorized vessel (AV) flag are authorized to be closer to non-Southern Resident killer whales. Do not follow them.
Do not enter Interim Sanctuary Zones (ISZ)
From June 1 to November 30. No boating, no fishing.
Some exceptions apply, including:
- Vessels accessing local residences and establishments
- Vessels in distress or providing assistance to a vessel or person in distress.
- Vessels avoiding immediate or unforeseen danger.
- Indigenous peoples exercising existing rights.
No recreational and commercial salmon fishing in area-based fishery closures
Swiftsure Bank – in effect July 16 – October 31
Juan de Fuca Strait – in effect August 1 – October 31
Gulf Islands – in effect from first confirmed presence of Southern Resident killer whales to October 31, 2021. Monitoring for Southern Resident killer whales in the Gulf Islands will begin June 1.
ECHO Program large commercial vessel measures
Potentially active June 1 – November 30, based on whale presence:
- Haro Strait and Boundary Pass voluntary vessel slowdown Large commercial vessel slow down: 11 kn (bulkers, tankers, general cargo) or 14.5 kn (containers, car carriers, cruise).
Active June 1 – October 31
- Strait of Juan de Fuca voluntary inshore lateral displacement — Inshore vessels (tugs) move further away from shore into lateral displacement zone.
- Slowdown for outbound large commercial vessels in Swiftsure Bank: Strait of Juan de Fuca voluntary inshore lateral displacement — 11 kn (bulkers, tankers, general cargo) or 14.5 kn (containers, car carriers, cruise).
Check out some additional resources
- More information on 2021 management measures to protect Southern Resident killer whales
- More information on the Minister of Transport’s Interim Order
- More information on Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s ECHO program
- For the best ways to help whales while on the water on both sides on the border visit: bewhalewise.org
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:
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