With summer just around the corner, it is always beneficial to have a quick refresher of the Be Whale Wise guidelines in order to ensure that we are observing marine wildlife responsibly. This year at the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network we are particularly excited as we have created a new Be Whale Wise video, a great resource to check out before heading out on the water. Take a look!
As stated in the video, cetacean populations are vulnerable to vessel disturbance. One major threat that they face is collision with boats, which can result in serious injury and mortality. Due to the significant time spent at near or at the surface, fin whales, humpback whales, and killer whales are thought to be the most common whales involved in vessel collisions. Sadly, estimates of these collisions with vessels are likely larger underrepresented as many collisions may go unnoticed, or unreported.
Vessel disturbance can also cause the disturbance of natural cetacean behavior.. Getting too close can disturb important daily activities necessary for survival such as; foraging, surfacing, resting, avoiding predators, vocalizing and hearing, socializing, mating, and nurturing calves.
Remember to follow these guidelines, and you will be sure to have an enjoyable and responsible viewing experience. Be sure to share your sightings with the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network so you can contribute toward conservation-based cetacean and sea turtle research. We would love to hear from you if you see any whale, dolphin, porpoise, or sea turtle. You can report online here, via email ([email protected]) or through our toll-free number, 1 866 I SAW ONE.
Lusseau, D., Bejder, L. 2007. The long-term consequences of short-term responses to disturbance experiences from whalewatching impact assessment. International Journal of Comparative Psychology 20: 228-236.
Williams, R., Lusseau, D., Hammond, P. 2006 Estimating relative energetic costs of human disturbance to killer whales (Orcinus orca). Biological Conservation 133(3): 301-311.