The Proposed Killer Whale Vessel Guidelines – The ‘What’ and ‘When’

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The following information was taken from the original document (listed here)

Description and Scope of the Proposed Action

“NMFS is proposing to adopt regulations that would prohibit motorized, non-motorized, and self-propelled vessels in navigable inland waters of Washington from:

• Causing a vessel to approach within 200 yards of any killer whale
• Entering a restricted zone along the west coast of San Juan Island during a specified season- May 1st to September 30th, starting in 2010
• Intercepting the path of any killer whale in inland waters of Washington”

Chart comparing the proposed regulations (highlighted) with other options that were under consideration.

Exceptions to the regulations

“1. The regulations would not apply to Federal, state, and local government vessels operating in the course of official duty.

2. The regulations would not apply to vessels participating in the U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard Co-operative Vessel Tracking System and operating within the defined Traffic Separation Scheme shipping lanes.

3. The regulations would not apply to activities, such as scientific research, authorized under permit by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

4. The regulations would not apply to treaty Indian fishing vessels lawfully engaged in actively setting, retrieving, or closely tending fishing gear.

5. The regulations would not apply to vessel operations necessary to avoid an imminent and serious threat to a person or vessel.

6. The no-go zone regulation would not apply to privately owned vessels that transit the no-go zone for the sole purpose of gaining access to privately owned shoreline property located immediately adjacent to the no-go zone.”

Who will be affected, and how will these regulations be enforced? The next posts will discuss the impacts of the proposed orca/vessel regulations on us.

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