J Pod’s newest calf, born Sept. 24, 2020 surfaces next to mother J41. (Talia Goodyear/Orca Spirit Adventures/Pacific Whale Watch Association)

J Pod’s newest calf, born Sept. 24, 2020 surfaces next to mother J41. (Talia Goodyear/Orca Spirit Adventures/Pacific Whale Watch Association)

Campbell River whale-watching guide fined $10,000 for disturbing killer whales

Charges stem from May 27, 2019, incident near Willow Point in Campbell River

A Campbell River whale-watching guide is being fined after being found guilty of illegally disturbing a group of killer whales during a tour in 2019.

Nicklaus Templeman, owner and operator of Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions, was found guilty of violations under both the Species At Risk and Federal Fisheries Act in Campbell River Provincial Court on Sept. 13, 2021.

Templeman was ordered to pay $5,000 for each violation, for a total of $10,000, according to an Oct. 21 Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) press release. These fines will be used for the conservation and protection of marine mammals in the waters off British Columbia.

On May 27, 2019, Templeman was reportedly seen by two other whale watching guides illegally approaching a killer whale within 35 metres near Willow Point. Despite acknowledging over radio he was aware of the whale pod, he continued to travel towards them and positioned his boat so the whales would pass him close by, according to DFO.

During the incident, there were around six other commercial whale watching vessels near the incident, and some operators and tourists on board later provided witness statements for the investigation.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada asks the public for information on similar activities or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336, or email the details to DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.

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sean.feagan@campbellrivermirror.com

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