Whale-watching incidents reach 2,500, private boaters mainly to blame
Source: Vancouer Sun
A total of 2,500 whale-watching incidents were observed in Haro Strait in Washington state last year as the U.S. introduced new conservation regulations requiring boaters, including Canadians, to keep specific distances from killer whales.
A report by U.S. boater education group Soundwatch found that private boaters from both nations were responsible for almost three out of five incidents in 2011, or 58 per cent of the total.
Canadian commercial operators accounted for 13 per cent of incidents in 2011, compared with U.S. commercial operators at eight per cent.
But Canadians have a greater commercial presence in the strait: 16 Canadian companies operated 54 vessels last year compared with 17 U.S. companies operating 22 vessels.
The report found that Canadian commercial vessels tend to consist of inflatable craft that are faster and more manoeu-verable and "often engage in park-and-wait sequences" ahead of groups of whales.
Larger passenger-style vessels from the U.S. tend to engage in parallel viewing - watching from the side as the whales travel past.
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