First fine levied for getting too close to whales: Fisheries and Oceans

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — The federal government says the first conviction under new regulations meant to protect whales from being disturbed by people has resulted in a fine for a guide in British Columbia.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says a provincial court judge found Scott Babcock guilty of a violation under the Marine Mammal Regulations in August.

It says he was fined $2,000 and did two days of community service educating the public on boater safety near whales.

The department says the sentence related to an incident on July 19, 2018, when a humpback whale was approached at a distance of less than 100 metres in the Work Channel, north of Prince Rupert.

Under the regulations, anyone approaching marine mammals must stay at least 100 metres away from most whales, dolphins and porpoises.

There is also a 200 metre minimum approach distance for whales, dolphins, and porpoises that are resting or accompanied by a calf, as well as a 200 metre maximum approach distance for killer whales in the Pacific Ocean.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2019.

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