Notice: 2021 management measures to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales

Issued: April 19, 2021

Ends: November 30, 2021

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 all killer whales in all southern BC coastal waters between Campbell River and just north of Ucluelet, including Barkley and Howe Sound. 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 :

o No fishing or boating in Interim Sanctuary Zones off the east coast of Saturna Island or south-west of North Pender Island.

o Human-powered vessels (kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, etc.) may use a 20 metre transit corridor along the coast.

No recreational or commercial salmon fishing in portions of Southern Resident Killer Whale key foraging areas :

o Area-based fishing closures will be in effect in the Southern Gulf Islands for recreational and commercial salmon fisheries.

o NEW for 2021, Salmon fishery closures in the southern Gulf Islands have been implemented based on the confirmed presence of Southern Resident Killer Whales. No recreational and commercial salmon fishing is allowed from July 4, 2021 until October 31, 2021. See map here.

Additional ways you can help:

o If a killer whale appears near you, turn your engine to neutral and let the whale pass.

o Stop fishing (do not haul gear) when within 1000 metres of killer whales

o Go Slow! Reduce your speed to less than 7 knots when you’re within 1000 metres of the nearest marine mammal

o Turn off echo sounders and fish finders when safe to do so

Be Whale Wise

o For more information on the best ways to help whales while on the water, please visit

Additional resources:

o 2021 management measures to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales.

o Boating around Killer Whales in BC – Give them space (video)

o Boating around Killer Whales in BC – Interim Sanctuary Zones (video)

o Boating around Killer Whales in BC – Fishery measures for Southern Resident Killer Whales (video)

o Boating Around Killer Whales (poster)

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

If you are unable to reach the Observe, Record, Report Line, you can call Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Mammal Desk at 1-833-339-1020.