Should You Support Whale Watching?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding Whale Watching right now, and the implications it has on our wildlife. The question is, can it be done responsibly without putting our beloved whales at risk? The answer is yes! But it requires the cooperation and communication of everyone out on the water.
Over the past few years, Whale Watching in Campbell River has been booming. Our nutrient-rich waters and sheltered waters, provide refuge and feed for Humpbacks, Orcas, Dolphins and Porpoises. At any given time there can be 20+ whale watching boats out on the water, all full of guests anxious to see these beautiful creatures. So how do we do this safely, both for the guests and the whales? It’s called Responsible Whale Watching!
Responsible Whale Watching benefits everyone! The operators, whale watchers, and the surrounding communities that thrive on our booming tourism.
Responsible Whale Watching Benefits…
- By allowing you to enjoy these magical creatures in their natural environment, rather than a tank. It is always better than going to an Aquarium.
- It offers you the opportunity to learn about these marine animals, how they eat, breed, communicate, the threats they face, and what we can do to help.
- Seeing Whales and Dolphins in the wild (where they belong!) can be a life-changing and awe-inspiring experience!
- Provides a research platform for scientists to collect data on the behaviour and ecology of whales and dolphins
- Can save lives when ‘watchers’ spot whales or dolphins in distress and can alert experts
- Providing income for coastal communities
- Developing local tourism infrastructure
- Offering a long-term marine tourism activity: many whale species are long-lived and, if treated responsibly, may be viewed in the wild over several decades.
So How Do We Practice Responsible Whale Watching?
Keep Our Distance
- The Canadian Department of Fisheries sets strict guidelines with how close we are allowed to get to the whales. Though everyone loves that once-in-a-lifetime up-close-and-personal encounter, they are so rare and only happen on the whales terms. Rest assured though, your captain knows exactly how to position the boat in order to get the best view, whilst not disturbing or disrupting the natural behavior of the whales.
Limit Our Time
- Everyone out on the water wants a chance to spend some time with these beauties. We try and limit our time with each animal so we don’t disturb or cause any stress for them. We communicate with other operators and make sure there are only a couple of boats around at a time, and if we know it’s a bit crowded, we’ll go find some other whales to look at. There are plenty of whales for everyone to go around so there’s no point in all of us bunched up together!
Communicate with Other Boaters
- One of the biggest dangers our whales face is from vessel strikes. They are often caused by recreational boaters who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. We are constantly on the radio, alerting oncoming boaters that there are whales in the area. We try and educate them as much as we can, that when you see a blow, or a whale watching boat that is stopped, slow down and drive with caution. We also report whales that have become entangled in fishing line or rope, and are in need of some help!
Promote Education and Conservation
- We partner up with a few organizations to help promote and protect our whales. One of which is called MERS (Marine Education and Research Society). Each sighting is recorded and sent into them, the sightings are then logged, and then catalogued (specifically the humpbacks). They put together a fantastic Identification Catalogue of all of our Humpbacks (which are all given names!). We like to have it on the boat to show our guests the different markings, and everyone loves to know the names of all of the whales!
We Focus On the Beauty Of the Entire Coast!
We have so much beauty here on the coast, not just the whales but the Dolphins, Seals, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and of course the beautiful Flora and Fauna! Our crew is knowledgeable about everything we stop to see, land, sea or sky, and we try and show our guests a little bit of everything! Our goal with every trip we do, is to show you why we are so proud of where we live, and to give you a true appreciation of our coast.