Transport Canada has levied nearly $25,000 in penalties to five vessel owners who have breached zones around Pender Island intended to protect southern resident killer whales.
The violations were handed out between December 2019 and July this year for boats in an interim orca sanctuary area set aside for the endangered species. Several vessel owners were cited multiple times.
One vessel, Familia, was fined $6,750 for violating the order three times over five days in the summer of 2020. The boat is no longer registered with Transport Canada.
TRIPLE 8-II, a whale-watching boat from Seabreeze Adventures in Steveston, was fined $3,500 for breaching the buffer on June 19.
The owner of Valerie May, a pleasure boat based in Victoria, was fined $3,500 on May 21.
The owner of Salvage, which was not registered, was fined twice within two weeks for a total of $2,750. The boat Chloe Marina was sanctioned for failing to comply with the interim order on Aug. 10 and 15, 2020.
Transport Canada said it enforces compliance with legislation “using the right balance of fairness and deterrence” before pursuing enforcement action.
Transport Canada said its marine safety inspectors use a scaled approach to choose the right penalty amount.
They may issue verbal and written warnings or issue fines.
Last month, a whale watching company in Campbell River was ordered by a provincial court judge to pay $10,000 for contravening distancing rules around a pod of transient killer whales.