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

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Local Skeena candidates for the Oct. 24 snap election

Current BC Liberal MLA Ellis Ross will be running again, as will Nicole Halbauer for BC NDP

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre reopening October 5

The pool facility will have COVID-19 restrictions and protocols in place for patrons

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

VIDEO: Tickets now available for the Second Annual Northern View Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

Four great locations in Prince Rupert and Port Edward to buy your tickets

First full day of B.C.’s election campaign begins amid COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson and the Green party’s Sonia Furstenau criticized John Horgan’s decision

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Most Read