VICTORIA, B.C. – As whale watching season gets underway, tour companies will have to follow new rules being enforced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Last year, it was decided that whale watching boats would have to stay at least 200 metres away from the animals.

There are about 77 southern resident killer whales left in the Salish Sea, and Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, Christianne Wilhelmsen said reducing the noise the mammals have to deal with is important.

“Noise is an increasing threat to southern resident killer whales and to all marine mammals,” she said.

“I think restrictions on whale watching as far as 200 metres, all it does is it puts us equal with laws in the United States that have been in place for many years, so I think it’s a good thing.”

Although she expressed joy over these regulations, she said there is still a lot more the Trudeau government needs to do to ensure the safety of marine mammals.

She said other measures that are needed include the protection of salmon stocks from commercial fish companies. Unlike transients, resident killer whales have a steady diet of salmon.