Notice: 2022 management measures to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales

Issued: May 04, 2022

Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered. They struggle to find enough food to eat and are vulnerable to contaminants. Noise and disruption from boats interfere with their hunt for prey.

When you are boating or paddling around Gulf Islands National Park Reserve you may encounter Southern Resident Killer Whales. Take the actions below to protect the killer whales. Your participation is essential

  • Stay 400 metres away from killer whales in all southern BC coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet. It’s the law. This includes waters around Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. See map here

  • Do not enter Interim Sanctuary Zones from June 1 to November 30: 
    • No fishing or boating in Interim Sanctuary Zones off the east coast of Saturna Island or south-west of North Pender Island.

  • No recreational or commercial salmon fishing in portions of Southern Resident Killer Whale key foraging areas:
    • Area-based fishing closures will be in effect in the Southern Gulf Islands for recreational and commercial salmon fisheries. 
    • The southern Gulf Islands closures are triggered to start based on first confirmed presence of Southern Resident Killer Whales until October 31, 2022. *New in 2022* The earliest start date is May 5, 2022.
      • The area will be monitored for Southern Resident Killer Whales by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Enhancing Cetacean and Observation (ECHO) Program and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Whale Tracking Network.
  • *New in 2022* In addition, closures will be in place at the mouth of the Fraser River from August 1 to September 30, 2022.  
  • Additional ways you can help:
    • If a killer whale appears near you, turn your engine to neutral and let the whale pass.
    • Stop fishing if you are within 1,000 metres of a killer whale.
    • Go Slow! Reduce your speed to less than 7 knots when you’re within 1,000 metres of a killer whale.
    • Turn off your echo sounders and fish finders when not in use.
  • Reporting violations or incidents involving marine mammals
    • When you are in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve please call Parks Canada Emergency Dispatch (1-877-852-3100) to report any violations or incidents involving marine mammals to Park Wardens or the appropriate Parks Canada team member.
    • Otherwise, please report any violations or incidents involving marine mammals (that you overserved or were involved in) to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 24/7 Observe, Record, Report Line: 1-800-465-4336