Opinion

Treat orcas respectfully: It’s the law | Guest Column

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By Kari Koski

Soundwatch has been working closely with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Office and the state Parks and Recreation Commission to create and distribute educational materials to inform boaters on the new laws for Southern resident orcas.

The laws took effect June 12.

Hot off the press are posters and brochures outlining the state laws as well as an overview of the Endangered Listing Status and state and federal laws in the latest edition of the state “Parks Adventures in Boating” handbook.

Help us spread the news by getting the word out to your family and friends, as well as local marine business and boating groups.

Here are the new responsibilities for all boaters in Washington state waters:

GET OFF MY TAIL!

IT’S THE LAW.

In Washington State, it is unlawful to*:

n APPROACH  within 100 yards of a killer whale.

n INTERCEPT  a killer whale by placing a vessel or allowing a vessel or other object to remain in the path and within 100 yards of a killer whale.

n FAIL TO IMMEDIATELY DISENGAGE  a vessel’s transmission within 100 yards of a killer whale.

n HARASS any marine mammal. 

*Some exemptions apply.

See “Wildlife Viewing” at www.wdfw.wa.gov for more information.

Boaters are encouraged to follow the “Be Whale Wise Guidelines” for marine wildlife.

Thanks for being Whale Wise and spreading the word.

— Kari Koski is director of Soundwatch. Contact her at soundwatch@whalemuseum.org or 378-4710, box 33.

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