Two Campbell River-based whale watching companies say they’re taking steps to ensure the well-being of whales during tours.
Campbell River Whale Watching and Discovery Marine Safaris announced a voluntary code of conduct they say exceeds regulations that are already in place.
“We want to make it known that our goal is to collaboratively work together to do everything we can to ensure the foraging efficiency and safety of the animals that we all love so much,” said Campbell River Whale Watching co-owner Steve Gabrysh in a June 25 statement.
The companies said they have invited other ecotourism outfits to adopt the guidelines, which are meant to minimize disturbances to orcas and protect other marine mammals.
The code of conduct includes limits on the number of vessels and time spent in the vicinity of groups of whales, along with guidelines on vessel positioning, speed and radio communication.
The code of conduct also calls for vessels not to “purposefully drive through groups of dolphins or porpoises to encourage bow or stern-riding” and states that vessels should reduce speed near bird colonies and sea lion haul-outs.