Killer whale regulation enforcement panel

Alan Wolf, NOAA; Larry Palke, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; Stefan Beckman, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; Russ Mullins, WDFW

There is not currently any permitting process, but one is under consideration in Canada…

Russ: on our 30+ patrols per summer, most infractions are by private recreational boaters. In 2008, there were two commercial infractions and ~50 warnings. We’ll be emphasizing education of recreational vessels in 2009 and taking more aggressive approach over next couple years.  In WA, there is a whale watching leaflet and info in boater ed documents (i.e. Marine Area 7 sport fishing regulations) now, plus some questions on the exam relate to orca watching.

Larry: In Canada in 2008, only one crab boat was cited; we warned ~50 recreational boaters and emphasized is on education.  This summer we’ll be focusing more on recreational vessels.  We attend boat shows and hand out be whale wise guidelines.  As of Sept 15, 2009, there will be a new requirement for boaters to have a card that documents some boater education.

Alan:5 undercover agents were sent out in 2008 on commercial vessels; no complaints arose (except regarding recreational boaters)

Stefan: Relationship is good between enforcement and operators; violations of regulations are declining.


  • Canada, Federal penalty is $100k (repeat offenses get up to $500k and 2yrs in jail); looking at “careless operation of a vessel” angle in 2009
  • NOAA, Civil (max $25k and criminal statues (max $100k, seizure of vessel))


  • location is important
  • description of operator/vessel
  • photo and video documentation

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