See a blow, go slow
Hannah, a friend on our dock, sent us a link to a radio interview with Jackie Hildering, a humpback whale researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society.
The interview was about the society’s new “See a blow, go slow” campaign to get boaters to reduce speed when close to humpback activity.
With the happy return of large numbers of humpbacks to the Salish Sea and north Vancouver Island coast, the incidents of boat strikes and fishing net entanglements have also increased.
Humpbacks do not have the natural sonar that orcas possess and often will be oblivious to the presence of boats.
And humpbacks are unpredictable, Hildering said. While feeding for krill and small fish, humpbacks move erratically, in any direction, and can surface at any time.
Boaters must stay a minimum of 100 metres (300 feet) away and not exceed seven knots while in the area.
To report a vessel strike or net entanglement, boaters are asked to immediately call 1-800-465-4336 or report on VHF 16.
In the case of an entanglement, Hildering stresses boaters must not attempt to disentangle the whale, which risks making the situation worse and removes the opportunity to tag it.
She said boaters should stay close to the whale so it is not lost.