The purpose of this code is to foster an environment of co-operation and trust among water-based tour operators for the protection and safety of the whales and other marine wildlife, and the safety and understanding of their passengers.
We agree to abide by this code for the protection and preservation of whales within our waters.
Definitions: A vessel will be defined as either a motorised vessel or a kayak group. A kayak group is defined as no more than 10 kayaks paddling in a co-ordinated group.
We agree that the first vessel to locate a whale or group of whales will have first viewing priority. The vessel is under no obligation to announce the location of the whales to other operators. We agree that no more than two vessels will view a whale or group of whales at a time within 100m of the whale or group. If the whales are travelling, the viewing vessels will maintain a respectable distance to avoid herding the animals.
We agree that a maximum of 30 minutes will be spent viewing a whale or group of whales if more than two vessels are in the immediate vicinity. Passengers will be informed that we are moving off to allow other vessels to view the whale and that we must avoid crowding the animals and endangering their safety. Motorised vessels will also take care not to crowd or endanger the safety of kayakers.
We agree to move off from any whale that is demonstrating avoidance behaviour such as turning away or increasing speed.
We agree that all operators will stand-by on a designated VHF radio channel for purposes of communication when one vessel is viewing or waiting to view a more than whale or group of whales, and we will co-ordinate the selection of the channel with whale watch vessels from other areas in the Bay of Fundy.
We agree that vessels when approaching another vessel already engaged in whale watching will contact that vessel and arrange viewing priority.
We agree to keep a fair distance when waiting our turn to view so as not to crowd the whale or viewing vessels. While waiting our turn to view we will engage in other activities such as sea bird and seal viewing, or conservation education.
We agree that when vessels are stopping to listen for whale blows in the fog that as a courtesy other vessels in the immediate vicinity will do the same.
We agree to cover different areas as much as possible so that not all vessels will be converging on the same location.
We agree that in the vicinity of fixed fishing gear we will practice caution to avoid steering or herding whales in the direction of the gear.
We agree that we will commit to education the public and other boat operators about the conservation of whales and the preservation of the marine ecosystem. We recognize that adherence to this code demonstrates our care and concern for whale conservation.
We agree to re-assess this code of ethics annually and update as needed.
Dated 17 March 1997.