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Southern Resident Killer Whale Measures 2020

A reminder that as of June 1, 2020, Transport Canada’s Interim Order for the Protection of Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in the Waters of Southern British Columbia, 2020 is in effect including:

Minimum 400 metre approach distance (year-round)

Vessels are prohibited from approaching any killer whale within a 400-metre distance in all southern BC coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet.

· Certain whale watching and ecotourism companies who receive an authorization from the Minister of Transport, will be allowed to view non-Southern Resident Killer Whales from 200 metres, in recognition of their ability to distinguish between ecotypes. Authorized companies will have a purple flag with ‘AV’ denoted in the middle. This measure is in addition to the 200-metre approach distance for all killer whales in Canadian fisheries waters in the Pacific Ocean and BC, other than in the area described above.

Interim Sanctuary Zones (June 1 – November 30)

· Interim Sanctuary Zones will be in effect off Pender Island, Saturna Island and at Swiftsure Bank.

· No vessel traffic and no fishing will be allowed in these areas, with some exceptions including: vessels accessing local residences, business or services; vessels in distress or providing assistance to a person or vessel in distress; vessels avoiding immediate or unforeseen danger; Indigenous peoples exercising existing rights. Additionally, a 20 metre corridor along the shoreline of the Pender and Saturna Island Interim Sanctuary Zones has been created to allow those in human-powered vessels to transit safely through these areas.

Additional measures:

Fisheries Management Measure

· Area-based fishing closures will be in effect in the Juan de Fuca Strait and Southern Gulf Islands for recreational and commercial salmon fisheries through the summer and fall.

· More information on specific dates will be announced in June.

· Fishers are also asked to stop fishing within 1,000 metres of all killer whales.

Best practices to Be Whale Wise

· Reduce speed to 7 knots or less when within 1000 metres of the nearest marine mammal.

· Turn off echo sounders and fish finders when safe to do so.

· Place engine in neutral idle and allow animals to pass if you find yourself within 400 metres of a killer whale.

ECHO Program ( large commercial vessel measures

· Haro Strait and Boundary Pass voluntary vessel slowdown (potential effective date June 1 – Oct 31, based on whale presence)

o Large commercial vessels slow down to speed through water targets: 11.5kn (bulkers, tankers, general cargo) or 14.5kn (containers, car carriers, cruise)

Strait of Juan de Fuca voluntary inshore lateral displacement (June 1 – October 31)

o Inshore vessels (tugs) move further away from shore into lateral displacement zone

2020 Management Measures to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales (measures and maps)

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