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SlideshowNIMMSA - North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association loading... North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association


General Application

This Code of Conduct is to be applied by all members' vessels and those others who wish to manage their vessels responsibly while in the presence of marine wild life. Member vessel operators are required to review and be proficient in the application of this Code of Conduct.

It is worthy of note that NIMMSA agrees with the intentions of the Be Whale Wise Guidelines as prepared by DFO and NOAA and that this Code of Conduct is a NIMMSA addition to those Be Whale Wise Guidelines. Where a situation has not been addressed in this Code of Conduct it is the intention that the Be Whale Wise Guidelines and/or appropriate regulations under the federal Fisheries Act be observed. Members vessel operators are required to be thoroughly familiar with the Code of Conduct and ensure compliance at all times.


1.) Vessels and Shore Stations

a.) Commercial operators are encouraged to share information and should monitor the Marine VHF Radio channel 07A (07 in the USA mode or 156.350 MHz) when engaged in viewing whales and when within the general vicinity of whales. Radio transmissions should be friendly, courteous, helpful, to the point, and brief.
b.) Operators should share sightings of interest with local researchers whenever possible. It is recommended that operators also refrain from blocking research observations from land whenever possible as well as minimizing vessel noise when in the vicinity of killer whales near fixed hydrophone stations whenever possible.
c.) Vessels should pass on the outside of any other vessel viewing whales whenever practical.
d.) Operators should be considerate of their vessel noise when other operators are engaged in listening to the whales with their hydrophone.

2.) Vessels and Marine Life

a.) In sensitive situations such as individual whales showing signs of (assumed or otherwise) trauma, stress, labour, unfamiliar behavior, habituation towards people or vessels, or the need of extra space to complete a normal life process keep a distance of at least 200 meters.
b.) Whenever a vessel is upwind of and in the vicinity of a whale, engine exhaust emissions should be minimized, either by shutting down one or more main and auxiliary engines. All sonar, depth sounders, fish finders and other underwater transducers should be shut off whenever a vessel is in the vicinity of whales.
c.) Operators engaged in viewing marine mammals or birds should refrain from using their PA system.

3.) Personnel Capabilities

a.) NIMMSA members and their respective operators and naturalists are expected to know the difference between different species of marine wildlife as well as being able to identify their normal activities. It is also in their best interest to know the area and how the marine mammals they watch use it. This way they are better able to predict where an animal can be found, what they will be doing there, and how to avoid disturbing them.

4.) High Risk Situations

a.) High risk situations shall not be used as an excuse to violate guidelines, however safety of vessels and passengers take priority over guidelines and regulations under these circumstances.
1. Heavy Seas:
2. Heavy Fog:
3. Heavy Current:
4. Heavy Traffic:
5. Restricted in Ability to Manouveur

Whale Watching - Photo  Jared Towers