County Council to discuss No-Go zone; potential opiod crisis litigation, WSF plans at May 21 meeting

At its Monday, May 21 San Juan County Council meeting, the council will discuss the voluntary No-Go Zone that state fish and wildlife managers have asked boaters to observe along the west side of San Juan Island;  litigation regarding opoid crisis; and Washington State Ferries long-range plans. 

The purpose of the no-go zone is to protect the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population - J, K and L pods. More information is posted below. 

SAN JUAN ISLAND SPECIAL ORCA VIEWING AREAS  HARO STRAIT VOLUNTARY NO MOTOR BOAT ZONE FOR WHALES is a voluntary whale protection zone for Orcas (Orcinus orca) when they are present along the western shoreline of San Juan Island, Washington. The main zone extends from Mitchell Point until Eagle Point from the shore out to ¼ mile (440 yards).

In addition, the two-mile area around Lime Kiln Washington State Park / Whale Watch Park from the shore out to ½ mile (880 yards) provides a motor-boat free area for park visitors.

Please stay on the offshore side of whales at all times and follow the Be Whale Wise Guidelines. Please be cautious of whales and other marine wildlife and remain at least 200 yards offshore in marine wildlife protection areas. 

The Voluntary No Motor Boat Zones provide the orcas with a protected area around their favorite feeding and socializing areas. Motor slowly when determining if whales are in the area. Look for boat clusters as clues. Please stay outside these zones if whales are present.

This area is one of the busiest vessel traffic areas in the San Juan Islands. This zone offers a special opportunity for kayakers to paddle without interference from other vessel traffic. However, kayakers need to follow all of the same marine wildlife guidelines. Kayakers should group up and stay close to shore, out of the path of boats and whales.

Tune to 89.1 FM The Whale Museum’s SeaSound Radio When in the vicinity of the zones you can listen to the underwater sounds of the ocean on your FM radio. If you turn your engine off, you can listen to the whales without the sound of your boat.

These Voluntary No Motor Boat Zones and the BeWhale Wise Guidelines were developed by a coalition that included the Whale Watch Operators Association Northwest, the Whale Museum’s Soundwatch Boater Education Program, the Canadian Marine Mammal Monitoring Program (M3), the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and are supported by People for Puget Sound, Georgia Strait Alliance and the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee. 

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