Re: ‘High probability’ of disturbing whales in Discovery Passage enough to convict boater
I am writing to you regarding your article about Mr. Carl Peterson being fined for harassing killer whales.
To say this recent case of whale harassment is disturbing is a total understatement.
And when I say disturbing I am not talking about the supposed harassment of the killer whales by Mr. Carl Peterson, but the wrongful prosecution of someone based on loose guidelines at best, inconsistent testimony from the Fisheries Officers involved and input from an expert on Orcas that basically said that whales “may” be disturbed if harassed.
What a joke.
Mr. Peterson, his father and his father before him, have been guiding the waters of Campbell River for over 70 years and have shown tens of thousands of tourists from around the world the beauty of Discovery Passage and all those marine species that live there.
He has been a mariner in Discovery Passage all his life and was a huge part of many salmon enhancement projects aimed at bringing Chinook salmon (whale food) back to the area.
So let me get this straight – a 40 plus year fishing guide/expert mariner who has no guests in his boat is going out and harassing whales? I think not.
Did Mr. Peterson get close to the whales that happened by his boat that day? Maybe but that is conjecture at best.
Were the whales harassed or injured to the point where they acted other than in their normal dive and surface patterns while travelling? Obviously not.
I think Mr. Peterson was simply used as a wrong place, wrong time scapegoat for a couple of overzealous fisheries officers looking to use the new “Species at Risk” legislation in their arsenal.
Sad thing is that while many fishing guides and other tour operators actually do harass whales, Mr. Peterson has now had his good name and reputation dragged through the media and the court of public opinion let alone a criminal conviction for a possible momentary lapse of judgment that could have been easily remedied with a simple warning.
Why don’t fisheries officers Askey and Paramio go out and spent some time catching real poachers or others that are actually doing harm on our oceans?
Just another case of want to be cops flexing their muscle because they can. What a total waste of public time and tax payer money and all that came out of it was one good man’s ruined reputation and sore bank account.
Only leaves the whales to wonder what the fuss is all about.
Sun Peaks, B.C.