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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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Why is Canada Restricting Human Interaction with Whales?

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year student.

According to WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Experts believe that the current pace of extinction of species is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate…

By I Kid You Not , in Explained Facts to Know Featured World News , at November 3, 2021 Tags: , , ,

Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year student.

According to WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Experts believe that the current pace of extinction of species is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.

Each year, between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of all species will become extinct, according to these researchers, if the low estimate of the number of species on the planet is correct – that there are about 2 million distinct species – then between 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur each year. However, if the top estimate of species counts is correct – that there are 100 million distinct species coexisting with humans on our planet – then 10,000 to 100,000 species perish each year.

 Shocking, isn’t it? The figures are indeed quite daunting.

Read: What is Extinction? Explained

A step towards conservation has been taken by Canada in the form of whale watching restrictions. Let’s understand how and why these restrictions have been imposed.

What is whale watching?

Observing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat is known as whale watching. Whale watching, like bird watching, is mostly a leisure activity, but it may also have scientific and/or instructional objectives. According to a 2009 survey conducted for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, 13 million individuals across the world went whale watching in 2008. Whale watching produces $2.1 billion in tourism income each year and employs about 13,000 people globally. Because of the business’s magnitude and rapid growth, complicated and ongoing arguments with the whaling industry regarding the optimal use of whales as a natural resource have ensued.

Why has it become problematic?

In Canadian seas, there are over 30 different whale species. Whale watching is possible off all three coastlines, from Vancouver and Halifax to hamlets such as Pond Inlet in Nunavut. Whale behaviour, migratory patterns, and breeding cycles may be affected by the fast increase in the number of whale watching trips and the size of the vessel used to view whales. Whale watching has been shown to have a major impact on the biology and ecology of whales and dolphins. Some whales are endangered, despite the availability of seeing chances. Only 366 North Atlantic right whales and 74 southern resident killer whales survive. In 2018, an outcry was created over the situation of southern resident orcas.

What is Canada doing and why?

In recent years, the Canadian government has strengthened its rules protecting whales and other cetaceans in response to declining whale populations and growing threats.

Disturbing marine animals, including swimming and engaging with them, is currently banned in Canada. When whales are present, all ship operators must minimise speed, noise, and fishing. The prohibition of certain commercial and recreational fishing, as well as the construction of additional whale sanctuaries, are other measures aimed at preserving southern resident orcas. The stricter rules are intended to reduce human encounters with whales, who are becoming increasingly threatened as a result of rising ocean temperatures, food shortages, and increased maritime traffic. All vessels must keep further away from the animals than before if these regulations are followed.Some activities, such as snorkelling with humpback whales, are prohibited.

Is it working?

The majority of people believe that whales must be preserved, but there is disagreement regarding the scope and difficulty of limitations on whale-watching boats, which some firms describe as “overly onerous and even excessive.” Nonetheless, Canadian regulations have evolved, requiring tourists to modify their perspectives on how to observe and appreciate whales. Nonetheless, there are some encouraging indications on the horizon. While it’s impossible to say how much Canada’s safeguards are benefitting whales, there are some encouraging signs. In the last year, the southern resident killer whales have had three births, including a new baby for Tahlequah, the orca. Females account for two of the three, which is important for population conservation.

Key points summary

  • According to WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Experts believe that the current pace of extinction of species is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.
  • A step towards conservation has been taken by Canada in the form of whale watching restrictions
  • Observing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat is known as whale watching
  • Whale behaviour, migratory patterns, and breeding cycles may be affected by the fast increase in the number of whale watching trips and the size of the vessel used to view whales.
  • In recent years, the Canadian government has strengthened its rules protecting whales and other cetaceans in response to declining whale populations and growing threats.
  • Disturbing marine animals, including swimming and engaging with them, is currently banned in Canada.
  • The stricter rules are intended to reduce human encounters with whales
  • Some activities, such as snorkelling with humpback whales, are prohibited.
  • While it’s impossible to say how much Canada’s safeguards are benefitting whales, there are some encouraging signs.

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