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

Prince Rupert 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

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Feds and Chamber of Commerce team up to support businesses

PRDCC is offering weekly conference calls to business in Prince Rupert

Fire on Third Ave. in Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert Fire Rescue crew attended the hotel

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

Two armed robberies with-in a day

RCMP are asking for information

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read