Rainbow spray from two humpback whales in Work Channel, British Columbia. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

A whale watching guide has been ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and complete community service for venturing too close to a humpback whale near Prince Rupert – marking the first conviction under new federal marine protection laws.

According to the Department of Fisheries, Scott Babcock was on a boat in the Work Channel when he approached a North Pacific humpback whale at a distance of less than 100 metres on July 19, 2018. He was initially spotted in the channel, located roughly 50 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, by conservation fishery officers on patrol in an unmarked vessel.

Babcock was found guilty and handed down his sentence in August in a provincial courtroom in Prince Rupert.

WATCH MORE: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

This is the first conviction under the Fisheries Act since officials amended the Marine Mammal Regulations in 2018, after calls by researchers and advocates to better protect whales facing dwindling populations.

Under the regulations, people – including whale watching companies – must stay 100 metres away from whales, dolphins and porpoises and 200 metres away when those marine mammals are rested or accompanied by a calf.

People must keep a minimum distance of 200 metres from killer whales within the Pacific Ocean.

The North Pacific humpback whale was deemed a threatened species in 2005.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Fernie Academy hockey players sign to play in the NA3HL

Dylan Baker, Chris Consolozio, and Bowen Arola continue their hockey careers in the NA3HL

Rivers, creeks flooding across the East Kootenay due to rainstorm

Residents evacuated in Fairmont, other properties on alert due to debris flow concerns

Southeast Kootenay school district set to reopen next week

Individual schools have creative timetables and schedules in order to adhere to public health orders

BC bats don’t spread COVID-19 says Kootenay Bat Project

Misinformation can lead to problems for bats, project says

Fernie SAR responds to two calls this weekend

The calls reported an injured mountain biker and an abandoned kayak

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read