Whale watching companies in Victoria are raising their surcharges to support salmon conservation initiatives, and encouraging other businesses to do the same. (File photo)

Victoria whale watching companies urge other businesses to do more for whales

Eagle Wing Tours and Prince of Whales recently upped their environmental fees for ocean research

Local whale watching businesses are increasing their environmental fees to fund research and support for whales and salmon, and are calling on other businesses to do the same.

Earlier this week, Prince of Whales announced a multi-year $1 million investment into orca conservation by increasing their conservation fees from $2 to $5. This funding will go towards orca-based science programs and chinook salmon recovery projects in B.C.

READ MORE: B.C. whale-watching group uses surcharge to boost salmon, science for killer whales

Eagle Wing Tours has charged a $2 Wild 4 Whales sustainability fee since 2013, with funds going towards three projects: the organization’s own Wild 4 Whales Foundation, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Salish Sea Marine Survival project. As of Dec. 1, they have also increased their sustainability fee to $5 per person.

Additionally, since 2009 the company has been carbon neutral, and since 2011 been part of the 1% For the Planet initiative, as have the majority of whale watching companies in Victoria. In total, the company has donated more than $450,000 since 2012.

ALSO READ: Victoria activists stage orca vigil for J35

“I applaud Prince of Whales for taking on the environment fee,” said Eagle Wing co-owner Brett Soberg. “But it’s a great opportunity for anyone in business to raise money to do a bunch of good work, why should it just be the whale watching community? It’s a great opportunity for everyone to help.”

Soberg said originally instating the fees was a no-brainer, and that guest responses has been very positive.

“Not one person has complained, and many people wanted to donate more,” Soberg said. “That’s a great problem to have.”

Soberg said that while many times whale watching companies are blamed for harming local whales, whose populations are steadily declining, in actuality, they are at the forefront of education and advocacy for healthier oceans.

VIDEO: Humpback rubs against whale-watching boat

“We’ve made these decisions along the way because it’s right by the fish, and it’s right by the whales,” he said. “As the case with any business, sustainability should be deeply ingrained in your business model. We all have a job to either influence positively or negatively, and whale watching has always been and will continue to be a platform to educate half a million people a year about the values of the healthy ocean.”

READ MORE: Island businesses concerned over potential economic loss if whale habitat extended

Soberg argued that local and national governments are simply not doing enough to help the dire situation and that more locals needed to step in and rally in an effort to save the salmon and whale populations, whether they volunteer at a hatchery or advocate for ocean health.

“These projects are all short-term solutions, but the whales need it. It’s a crisis right now,” Soberg said.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP reports increase in calls around supportive housing sites

Terminal and Labieux areas see 50-60 per cent increases in activity, reports RCMP superintendent

Wild about nature photos: Royal B.C. Museum set to kick off annual exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners, finalists’ works on display starting Friday

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

Beauty Day spreads ‘brightness’ at Our Place

Volunteer hairdressers, estheticians, even a tarot card reader took part in the Victoria event

Lake Cowichan author finds rare manuscript while researching at Kaatza Station Museum

Dean Unger was amazed to find handwritten book by Victorian era author in simple grey box

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read