May 22: Whale-watching rules are the right step

Re: “Boater no-go zones, salmon closures aim to protect orcas,” May 11.

Recently, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a new, stricter set of restrictions that regulate fishing and whale-watching industries. One of the biggest changes is that whale-watching boats off the coast of B.C. will be required to stay at least 400 metres away from our southern resident killer whales. For reference, 400 metres is about the length of four regulation football fields.

article continues below

The intent of these restrictions is to protect the dwindling populations of killer whales from noise pollution and other threats. Of course, these restrictions have been met with objections from some tourist industries, which complain that the restrictions are far too severe and will make it impossible for tourists to observe the whales.

However, many are also in support of the ban. With only 75 southern resident orcas, the time is now to make sweeping changes and prevent biodiversity loss. As a high school student involved in environmental issues, I believe we need more of these restrictions to protect our ecosystems.

Our species in coastal British Columbia are some of the most diverse in the world, and it is up to us to protect them while we still can. The fact is, the whale-watching industry will cease to exist if we don’t protect our endangered species now. The tourist industry must come to terms with the fact that they cannot simply take from our environment without giving back to it, in turn.

Cait Foster


Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist