Sanctuary Zones

Categories :

Transport Canada has confirmed that the two Interim Sanctuary Zones – one off Pender Island and the other off Saturna Island, are in effect from June 1 to November 30 again for this year’s cruising season, 2023. These no-go sanctuary zones are set aside to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). Vessel traffic is NOT permitted in these areas during this period, except for emergency vessels and certain Indigenous vessels. These sanctuary zones are strictly enforced and carry heavy fines up to $1 Million and/or imprisonment of not more than 18 months. See previous Waggoner article posted March 29. Boaters have been notified of violations along with fines imposed via certified letters from Transport Canada.

Boaters should be aware of all restrictions that are in effect for an extended period of time:

This is being added to the already existing whale zones that you can see below.

Read more here

Whale Zones.  Remain ½ mile offshore June 1 – Nov. 30 from the Interim Sanctuary Zones along the southwest shore of North Pender Island, and the area off the southeast end of Saturna Island (noted on Canadian charts).

Boaters are to stay at least 400 meters away from Killer Whales in the coastal waters between Campbell River and Ucluelet, including Barkley Sound, and also in Howe Sound – in effect until May 31, 2024. Otherwise stay at least 200 meters away from Killer Whales.

For current management measures to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada, see the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website. In the coming year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will be launching a consultation process to consider adjustments to approach distances for killer whales on the Pacific Coast under the Marine Mammal Regulations of the Fisheries Act.

Boaters are reminded to use caution in all marine waters – be aware of restricted zones, fishing regulations, and have current Canadian charts when cruising in British Columbia.

Header Image: Waggoner
Text Images: Fisheries and Oceans Canada