|The summer months are obviously much more busy in the Ecological Reserve/MPA, while at the same time Mike and Carol, with the support of Pearson College, limit the number of visitors and students landing on the island during these ecologically sensitive months. Summer time also sees a great increase in whale visits in the Ecological Reserve/MPA, and with them the whale watching tour boats. For the most part, the whale-watchers have observed the regulations of the MPA: creating no wake, staying 100m from the islets, staying out of the Ecological Reserve/MPA when whales are near, etc. And while the various tour companies have become self-regulating, unfortunate breaches occur. Today for instance, several boats came to close to the rocks for a better view, as well as two tour boats speeding through the channel, disregarding the no-wake policy. On 3 July, there were 6 separate infractions incurred by eco-tour boats, including harvesting of kelp (for demonstration). Considering the over 600 tour visits in the past 4 months alone, keep in mind only about 10 of the infractions were committed by these tours. Local sports fishers and pleasure craft owners commit the largest number of infractions (11 in the past 7 months). Whether it be disregard to the no-fishing agreement, landing uninvited on the islands, harassing marine mammals, or joy-riding through tide-rips; the opportunistic and uneducated alike continue to cause concern for us as managers of the Ecological Reserve/MPA. The AuxiliaryCoast Guard have also been a problem. They unfortunately disregarded the no-wake policy and the 100m distance regulation, as well ignoring the international dive-flag on one of their joy rides in the Ecological Reserve/MPA. Diving charters pose new challenges as well, many companies are unfamiliar with or chose to disregard the regulations of the Ecological Reserve/MPA and 2 incidents have been recorded thus far. To conclude this section, no user group has entirely committed itself to the enforcement and adherence to the regulations set at Race Rocks, though with a continued manned-presence and constant reminders to these user-groups, we see an improving future.
|In the past 7 months there have been several visits worth noting:
10 February: Taco Niet and Ged McLean of ISEVIC (University of Victoria) with 8 of the members of the alternate energy company “Clean Energy” from Vancouver.
22 February: A television crew from The New VI joined us for Rick Searle, the host of environmental on tthe New VI.
10 May: Don McClaren from B.C. Parks came with Garry to the island.
18 May: Three visitors from Washington State, David,Tim and Mike for the day long task of gathering the annual International Boundary Survey Measurements.
13 June: Sean LeRoy, Graduate Researcher, Georgia Basin Futures Project
Sustainable Development Research Institute, University of British Columbia and Dr.James Tansey also of UBC participated in a webcast with Tim Langois, Leigh Marine Laboratory University of Auckland, and Anne Saloman, University of Washington, Zoology Department.
28 July: Dr. Anita Voss and Alberto Lindner, a Ph.D.student from Brazil who is currently at Duke University.
The Coast Guard has made 4 visits to Great Race this year, for various reasons. The Department of National Defense have detonated weapons on Bentinck island, disrupting wildlife within the Ecological Reserve/MPA 7 times since the beginning of this year.
Species sightings this year: (Orcas) Orcinus orca, (Northern sea lions) Eumetopias jubatus, (California sea lions) Zalophus californianus, (Northern Elephant seals) Mirounga angustirostris, (Harbour seals) Phoca vitulina, Glaucous-winged gulls, Thayer’s Gulls, Mew Gulls, Herring gulls, Heermann’s gulls, Arctic terns, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon guillemots, Brandt’s Cormorants, Harlequin ducks, Northwestern/American crows, Canadian geese, Bald eagles, Black Turnstones,Surfbirds,Turkey vultures, and Barn swallows.