The largest fine so far under Canada’s Marine Mammal Regulations has been issued to a commercial diver.
The C$12,000 (~US$9,214/~€9.172) fine was issued in July to Thomas Gould for breaking Section 7 of the Marine Mammal Regulations of Canada’s Fisheries Act.
The fine is related to an incident in April when Gould interacted with a pod of seven Northern Resident Killer Whales near Prince Rupert Harbour. He used his boat to race ahead of the pod repeatedly and, dressed in full scuba gear, entered the water at least twice.
It was found that his action was not in keeping with the approach rules, which restricts the distance from whales, dolphins and porpoises to 200 meters/656 feet in all of Canada. In the water of Southern British Columbia, boats must keep a minimum distance of 400 meters/1,312 feet from killer whales.
It was also found that Gould broke the rules that prohibit diving, swimming or interacting with marine mammals.