Contributed photo

Contributed photo

Boating season opens: Protect babies and boaters

  • Sat May 19th, 2018 8:40am
  • Life

Submitted by Lifeforce Ocean Friends

The long May weekend is the unofficial opening of the fun-loving boating season. However, boating adventures can harm wildlife and people. Responsibilities include knowing the behaviors of large whales and dolphins. Collisions have caused serious injuries to both people and the cetaceans.

The Gray Whales, Humpback Whales and orcas are transboundary species. They have greater protection in the United States because the long-awaited Canadian Marine Mammal Regulation has failed to provide adequate protection. The boat distances between only the Southern resident killer whales were increased from the inadequate 100 meters to 200 meters. In the United States, Lifeforce fought for increased distances and government enforcement. Boaters must stay 200 meters and 400 meters if following or in front of all orca ecotypes.

The way whales are watched on water must also change. This would include giving the orcas some days off and breaks during the day. Speeds should be reduced to 7 mph. Maximum times are 30 minutes.

Lifeforce Ocean Friends, based in the Comox Valley, British Columbia, is also on the water to educate boaters and to study cetacean behaviors. Text them at 604-649-5258 or email them at lifeforcesociety@gmail.com.

To report violations in Canada, contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-4336, and in the United States, contact the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service at 1-800-853-1964.