Originally published by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
In spring 2019, the Washington Legislature passed Senate Bill 5577, a bill concerning the protection of Southern resident orcas from vessels, which developed a license for commercial whale watching and directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to administer the licensing program and develop rules for commercial viewing of the endangered species. (See RCW 77.65.615 and RCW 77.65.620)
The purpose of creating rules for commercial whale-watching of Southern residents is to reduce the impacts of vessel noise and disturbance on the orcas’ ability to forage, rest, and socialize while enabling sustainable whale watching
Draft rule language was developed in a year-long process and is being shared now for public comment and consideration by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
There are two options under consideration, viewable at https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-10/cww_ab_combined.pdf, and available for public comment, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cwwrules to share your comment and view the rules.