The Southern Resident Killer Whales Need Your Help

Islanders are asking our readers to please contact the Canadian Minister of Transportation, The Hon. Marc Garneau, to let him know your views about enforcing the law to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales, a species at risk.

Email is:
marc.garneau@parl.gc.ca
Toll Free Telephone: 1-866-995-9737

PLEASE PASS THIS NOTICE ALONG. It’s a small step we all can do to help protect these whales.

Many of you know that the Southern Resident Killer Whales off the coast of Washington and British Columbia are endangered. There are only 73 of them left.

Because people who live in the region are concerned about the survival of these whales, a group of neighbours in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia have started tracking the orcas, humpbacks, the occasional grey and minke whale in addition to boater compliance in the sanctuary zones created by the Canadian government for the orcas. See the federal government’s website for background information.

https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/whales-baleines/srkw-measures-mesures-ers-eng.html

https://tc.canada.ca/en/frequently-asked-questions-interim-order-respecting-protection-killer- whales-orcinus-orca-waters-southern-british-columbia

The enforcement regime under the Canada Shipping Act applies to violations of the Interim Order. This means that any person or vessel that does not comply with the Interim Order may be subject to an administrative monetary penalty of up to $250,000, or a fine of up to $1 million and/or imprisonment up to a maximum of 18 months upon summary conviction.

Warnings were issued to boaters in 2019 with a commitment to issuing fines, especially for repeat offenders, in 2020.

Instead of getting tougher on those offenders by issuing fines, Canada is repeating its approach from last year, letting them off with verbal or written warnings.

As of Aug. 12, 2020 Transport Canada had not issued any fines or penalties to boaters caught violating the zones, Canada's National Observer has confirmed. The department says it is still deciding whether to pursue any of the incidents that it’s already heard about.

As the department continues to weigh its options for enforcement, it has no shortage of facts to draw from. Residents on Saturna Island compiled data on boater compliance in the sanctuary Zone for two 2 week periods (12-25th) from 9 to 5 in July and August.


These are their numbers:

July boater compliance:47. Infractions:102 (65%)

August boater compliance:71 infractions: 108 (60%)

These boaters are mostly small recreational motor boats, or sailboats, specifically tracked in the Sanctuary Zone. Most of them do not have AIS (Automatic Identification System) so they do not appear on the satellite systems that tracks the larger boats.

Almost all small boaters say they were NOT aware of the ISZ.

In this regard the information brochures and posters that Transport Canada promised would be available in May at marinas and local about the ISZ arrived by mail August 26th, three months late and just in time for the last week of summer.

Frustrated islanders are looking to find ways to alert boaters (see their banners below) and are asking social media outlets to encourage readers to let the Canadian federal government know that it is completely unacceptable to not enforce laws to protect endangered species such as the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Islanders are asking our readers to please contact the Canadian Minister of Transportation, The Hon. Marc Garneau, to let him know your views about enforcing the law to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales, a species at risk.

Email is:
marc.garneau@parl.gc.ca
Toll Free Telephone: 1-866-995-9737

PLEASE PASS THIS NOTICE ALONG. It’s a small step we all can do to help protect these whales.

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