When viewing whales from the water in any type of vessel, remember these key guidelines:
• Approach areas of known or suspected marine wildlife activity with caution.
• Slow down as you approach whales. Avoid sudden speed or heading changes.
• Do not approach whales that are unmoving and floating at the surface or near the surface –
they are resting.
• Do not surround whales.
• Do not approach marine mammals using aircraft.
• Keep clear of the whales’ path. If whales approach you, move out of their way.
• Approach from the side: Do not approach whales from the front or behind. Approach
from the side and move in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales.
• Do not approach or position your vessel closer than 200 metres to any whale. If your
boat accidentally comes closer than 200 metres, stop or keep the boat stationary and
let the animal pass.
• Stay on the inshore side of the whales when they are travelling close to shore.
• Limit your viewing time to 30 minutes. This will minimize the cumulative impact
of many vessels, and give consideration toother viewers.
DO NOT INTERACT
• Do not swim or dive with whales.
• Do not feed whales.
• Do not touch whales.
WATCH FOR THESE SIGNS THAT A WHALE IS BEING DISTURBED
• Continually changing its swimming speed or direction
• Diving more often
• Discontinuing its activities of vocalizing, feeding, resting, nursing or socializing.
• Leaving the area
• Beginning or discontinuing aerial behaviors such as lob-tailing, flippering, or breaching
• If you notice any of these signs, carefully move your boat away from the whale.
Reminder: Whales can be observed from the shore with no negative impacts on the animals or their
environment. Do not touch, feed, or otherwise disturb any marine mammal, even if it comes
up to a wharf or the shoreline.
PORPOISES AND DOLPHINS
• Do not drive through groups of porpoises or dolphins.
• If dolphins or porpoises ride the bow wave of your vessel, avoid sudden course changes. Hold
course and speed or reduce speed gradually.
SEALS AND SEA LIONS
• Be cautious and quiet when around haulouts, especially during breeding, and pupping
seasons (generally May to September).
• Reduce speed, minimize wake, wash and noise, and then slowly pass without stopping. Avoid
approaching closer than 200 metres to any marine mammals.
• Pay attention and slowly move away at the first sign of disturbance or agitation. If the animal
starts to stare, fidget or flee, you’re too close.
• Do not disturb, move, feed or touch any marine wildlife, including seal pups. If you are
concerned about a potentially sick or stranded animal, contact your local stranding network where available
SEALS AT HAUL-OUTS
The places where seals congregate ashore are called haul-outs. These may be islands, islets
or even rocks (cays) and flats. A number of such haul-outs are used for activities essential
to the seals’ survival, such as calving, nursing and moulting.
When watching hauled-out seals:
• Do not land on or near haul-out sites.
• Slow down. Reduce your speed as you approach haul-outs. Avoid sudden changes
of speed or heading.
• Keep a reasonable distance, whether watching from the sea or the shore, and at the slightest
sign of agitation among the animals, move away. If they show signs of nervousness and
start taking to the water, they are already unsettled. Use binoculars.
• Do not swim or dive with seals and do not feed them.
Report an injured, harassed or abandoned marine mammal by phone using the listed
toll-free numbers 24 hours a day.
For your report, you should:
• Specify the location
• Note the condition of the animal
• Include your contact information
• Indicate the number of animals involved
• Note the animal species, size, colour and features
• Include the date and time you witnessed the incident
Do not touch or move an animal yourself because:
• you may accidentally harm it
• it may carry diseases that could transfer to you
TO REPORT SIGHTINGS OF LIVE AND HEALTHY ANIMALS
TO REPORT SIGHTINGS OF ENTANGLED, INJURED AND DEAD ANIMALS
Marine Animal Response Society
VHF Channel 16
SPECIES AT RISK
The Bay of Fundy and Scotian Shelf are home to many marine mammal and sea turtle
species, some of which are listed as endangered, threatened, or special concern under the
Species at Risk Act (SARA). The purposes of the Act are to:
• Prevent Canadian indigenous species, subspecies, and distinct populations from becoming extirpated or extinct
• Provide for the recovery of endangered or threatened species
• Encourage the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk
SARA-listed marine mammal and sea turtlespecies found within the Maritimes Region
North Atlantic Right Whale (Endangered);
Northern Bottlenose Whale (Endangered);
Blue Whale (Endangered);
Fin Whale (Special Concern);
Sowerby’s Beaked Whale (Special Concern);
Leatherback Sea Turtle (Endangered);
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Endangered);
Beluga Whale (Endangered).
Once listed under the Act, it is illegal to kill, harm, harass, capture or take a species that is
listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, all marine mammals are subject to the provisions
of the Marine Mammal Regulations under the Fisheries Act. These regulations contain a
prohibition against disturbing a marine mammal, except when fishing for marine mammals under
the authority of the regulations.