CAMPBELL RIVER — A Campbell River boater found guilty of harassing killer whales was handed an unusual sentence on Wednesday.
Carl Eric Peterson — the first person in Canada to be convicted of harassing orcas under the Species at Risk Act — was fined $7,500 and ordered to write a court-approved mea culpa in a local newspaper, which the Crown hopes will serve as a warning to others.
Peterson was found guilty last January of unlawfully disturbing marine mammals under the Fisheries Act, and of unlawfully harassing a species listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act.
The incidents occurred Aug. 3, 2010, in Discovery Passage near Quadra Island. Fisheries officers saw Peterson repeatedly accelerating toward two orcas that were surfacing, coming within 15 to 25 metres of the whales.
Under whale-watching guidelines, boats must stay 100 metres from orcas. Violations can result in a maximum fine of $250,000 under Species at Risk Act legislation and up to $100,000 under the Fisheries Act’s Marine Mammal Regulations.
— Campbell River Courier-Islander
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