New Rules re: Protecting Resident Orcas

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Jurfie, May 23, 2019.

  1. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Hey y'all, I'm sure you're all aware of the new rules in place to protect the local southern resident orca population (if not, the press release is here: https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-...olumbias-southern-resident-killer-whales.html).

    I'm interested to hear if anyone is familiar with how kayakers are affected by the new "Interim Sanctuary Zones" in the SGI?
    "...no vessel traffic will be permitted in these areas..." Does that include kayaks?

    According to this map, it appears no vessels are permitted on the north side of Saturna, which means no more summer paddling (assuming kayaks are defined as vessels) to Tumbo or Cabbage Island?

    [​IMG]

    I've had no luck getting an answer from DFO so far, so wondering if anyone here has had better luck or knows whether this includes human-powered vessels or only powerboats.
     
  2. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    from
    https://www.canada.ca/en/fisheries-...otecting-southern-resident-killer-whales.html

    Interim sanctuary zones, off the South-west coast of Pender Island and south-east end of Saturna Island, will also limit fishing activity and vessel traffic from June 1 until October 31, subject to exceptions including emergency vessels and vessels engaged in indigenous food, social and ceremonial fisheries. These areas are important foraging areas and are intended to create spaces of refuge for the whales on an interim basis pending further feasibility assessment work on a longer term sanctuary approach. The interim sanctuary zone at Swiftsure will expand the scope of an existing and longstanding fishery closure to apply to all commercial and recreational fisheries. Vessel restrictions will be put in place using the Interim Order power of the Minister of Transport under the Canada Shipping Act.

    that's interesting, I didn't realize there were going to be restricted zones. How does one transit from Rum Is, Portland Is etc to Pender Is as well as Tumbo and Cabbage. I'll do some more checking too.
     
  3. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Ok looking at the map again, I think I misread it. The yellow areas are the "interim sanctuary zones", so off of East Point and east of Tumbo and along the SW side of Pender. It looks like you can still paddle the north side of Saturna and approach Tumbo and Cabbage from the west, but doesn't look like you can transit to/from Portland and Rum from Pender or circumnavigate Saturna (unless there is a more detailed map that shows a route along the shore or a confirmation that kayaks are not "vessels" by definition of these measures).

    The purple hatched areas are just closed to fishing. The green shaded areas are "critical habitat"; vessel traffic is not restricted, but it is required to keep at least 400m distance from pods.
     
  4. Rodnak Kayak

    Rodnak Kayak Paddler

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    I am far from a scofflaw, but I assume 100 kayaks would have about .001% impact on Orca habitat versus other water craft. Saying that, I would not worry about this myself. Maybe I am wrong. I think a group of 4-6 kayaks or less would have zero effect. At our size we are but fish or seals (if you are a Transient) to the whales. As a human powered craft, we cannot always "go around" these areas safely, IMHO. Good point though, I would hate to have to fight an infraction, from kayaking or canoeing. I would be interested in other opinions on this, and more facts as they are dug up.
     
  5. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    Posted on the Saturna Island Facebook Message Board:

     
  6. benson

    benson Paddler

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    We just returned from a week long trip in the southern Gulf Islands and were unaware of the Sanctuary Zones that had been recently established off Pender and Saturna. We unwittingly paddled thru both zones during the week both on the way from Portland to Beaumont and Narvaez to Eastpoint. Thanks for sharing the response you received. We did encounter a very irate woman with camera as our group of 3 returned from Eastpoint hugging the shoreline following the back eddy to avoid the building flood current. My interpretation of the exception would allow paddlers to transit the zone if they were attempting to safely reach their next campsite, but maybe not as just part of a day trip. I can see the Pender zone having a bit more options, but the Eastpoint zone is limited. The GINPR campsite kiosks do have the new color zone maps if people take the time to read them which we hadn't...but have now. I imagine the southern BC kayakers were aware of this, but visiting boaters are less likely to be especially in the early stages of this ruling. I'll be sharing this with fellow paddlers.
     
  7. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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  8. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

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    I think I know who this "very irate woman" was. She is very passionate about protecting the SRKWs and is a vocal opponent to whale watch boats in particular. I suspect she is more against people transiting in front of her little slice of paradise on the island, but who knows.

    Sorry (hey, I'm Canadian) you were berated rather than educated by the locals. You don't know what you don't know, but sadly others don't remember this and/or assume people are pleading ignorance when "caught". I'm not sure what more could be done, other than more promotion and word of mouth; though how it is presented should always be from an approach of informing rather than admonishing.

    Interesting. I suspect that coincides with the SRKW's migration south in the fall/winter? Will likely just come back into effect next spring in advance of their arrival.
     
  9. AM

    AM Paddler

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    Sadly, righteous indignation is an addictive state of mind. It gives a feeling of power and being in control.