New measures will take effect tomorrow (June 1st) that are supposed to help save Southern Resident Killer Whales.
All vessels are prohibited from approaching any Southern Resident Killer Whale within a 400-metre distance.
Vessels are prohibited from entering areas newly designated as Interim Sanctuary Zones and those include the Swiftsure Bank, off the east coast of Saturna Island, and south-west of North Pender Island.
Some exemptions are provided for emergency response vessels and Indigenous persons engaged in certain activities.
The federal government is also asking vessel operators to respect voluntary measures which include a “Go Slow” zone around whales and reduce noise.
As a sign of leadership, the Pacific Whale Watch Association has signed an agreement that it won’t offer tours of Southern Resident killer whales.
Commercial whale watch operators and eco-tourism companies that demonstrate a commitment to environmental conservation can apply for authorization from the Minister of Transport to approach non-Southern Resident killer whales to a distance of 200 metres.