On World Ocean’s Day, marine biologist and coastal geographer Lauren McWhinnie is excited to be part of the festivities at Fisherman’s Wharf and supporting local organization Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society (SIMRES); however, her purpose will be to raise awareness about small boat noise in the Salish Sea and its impact on the health of whales and in particular the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW).
Education and public outreach are very important activities for McWhinnie who has been interpreting the new Federal Transport Canada laws and Department of Fisheries and Oceans management measures that came into effect on June 1, imposing mandatory restrictions on vessel and marine mammal interaction.
“The average small boat owner may not know where the important areas such as foraging sites are for the SRKW, but with some public education people can learn and change their behavior, such as slowing down in these critical areas,” says McWhinnie.
“It is also about keeping your distance when you are out on the water,” says McWhinnie. “The new laws say 400 meters but boaters need to use caution and good judgement.”