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DFO urges boaters to keep distance from English Bay grey whale

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 9, 2015 in Science
Vancouver - The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada has reminded boaters to steer well clear of a grey whale that has been spending time off the shore of Vancouver's English Bay. The big cetacean has been seen feeding near the beaches there.
Grey whales
There've been multiple sightings of grey whales going back to August and it seems at least one grey has virtually moved into the area. Unhappily boaters, including those in canoes, kayaks and on paddle boards, have been following the whale and getting far too close.
Grey whales feed on crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp and will even gobble barnacles, scooping them off of the sea floor. It's not uncommon for grey whales to swim a mere 10 feet from shore for a meal and when the big guy currently being seen in English Bay gets near shore even those on the beach are getting up too close to it.
Leri Davis of the D.F.O. said it is never a good idea to get close to a whale. It does more harm than just disturbing their feeding and Davis said even noise can be problematic.
"Our interactions with marine wildlife may cause them unnecessary stress, which could potentially threaten their lives," she said. "Marine mammals are so sensitive to that noise. It can really affect them."
100 metres from marine life
There is the potential of a heavy fine — up to $100,000 — to anyone who gets within 100 metres of the grey whale, or any marine life. In addition to a fine there could be a penalty of up to one year in jail. Davis said they will not hesitate to prosecute if people insist on getting too close to the whale.
The DFO is asking Vancouverites to call 1-800-465-4336 should they see anyone interacting with the grey whale. The information will go straight to DFO field officers who will immediately attend.
There has been a lot of whale activity in B.C. waters these past few months, with the three resident orca killer whale pods, and transient pods, seen often, along with humpback whales.
The return of greys into waters near to Vancouver is considered an indicator that improving environmental conditions may be drawing them back.
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