Canada: Protecting Killer Whales in Southern British Columbia

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Transport Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin (SSB) No. 15/2022 to replace its previous SSB No. 12/2021. The latest SSB updates requirements under the Interim Order for Protection of the Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) which came into force on 1 June, 2022 for vessels navigating in, on or through specific waters in Southern British Columbia. Some of these waters are key foraging sites for the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW), listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. The Government of Canada has put in place measures to reduce the acoustic and physical disturbance of marine vessels on the SRKW which can otherwise impact on the ability of the SRKW to perform critical life processes. The protection measures developed include a 400 metre approach distance restriction, the establishment of interim sanctuary zones, and the establishment of seasonal slowdown areas. 

Members are directed to SSB No. 15/2022 for details of these measures, the periods of their application and exemptions available for vessels and/or people.

Jacqueline Tan

Legal Services Manager