News 08 Dec, 2020

Canada - Regulations Regarding Protecting Killer Whale in Southern British Columbia

Emma Forbes-Gearey
Emma Forbes-Gearey
Loss Prevention Officer

On 31st May 2020, the Canadian Government implemented the Interim Order of the Protection of Killer Whales in the Waters of Southern British Columbia, 2020 as a result of the mammals being endangered under the Species at Risk Act. The whales have come under increased threat due to the underwater noise and physical disturbances generated by vessels. This can impact the killer whales’ ability to communicate and forage.

Therefore from the 1st June 2020 until 31st May 2021 vessels are banned from approaching within 400m of killer whales in the Salish Sea, south of Campbell River and those waters which have been identified as their critical habitat.



Chart extract from Transport Canada SSB No.: 19/2020

Vessels can be exempt from the approach distance restriction due to the following:

  • Any vessels with the following people onboard:

    - People carrying out certain activities which are labelled under the Fishery (General) Regulations, Species at Risk Act of the Marine Mammal Regulations.

    People working on behalf for the Canadian Government or peace officers or are assisting them. This also includes the Canadian Government/ peace officers employees who are performing work functions.

  • Any vessels that are involved in pollution response
  • Vessels that are transiting from one point to another
  • Vessels that need to avert unanticipated or immediate danger
  • Vessels that are assisting to a vessel or person(s) in distress or vessels themselves that are in distress

If vessels do not adhere to the instructions in the NAVWARNs or with the Interim Order, it can result in the following penalties:

  • A fine of up to CAN 250,000; or
  • Penal sanctions

For full information on the news bulletin it can be found on the Canadian Government website in the marine transport section - Protecting Killer Whales in the Waters of Southern British Columbia - SSB No.: 19/2020

If members require further information, please contact the Loss Prevention department.