Rare killer whale sighting in Victoria's Inner Harbour
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, June 7, 2018 4:03PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 7, 2018 6:37PM PDT
It was a rare spectacle in Victoria's Inner Harbour as a pod of killer whales ventured into the body of water Thursday afternoon.
A pod of about four to five orcas were spotted in the harbour swimming metres away from whale-watching vessels, a water taxi and a kayaker.
A local whale-watching tour company identified the pod as T49A transient orcas, as opposed to the endangered southern resident killer whales.
Whale-watcher Stan Bartlett told CTV News there appeared to be one mother orca with a large dorsal fin and three to four young orcas.
Bartlett said he was also concerned about the proximity of some vessels to the orcas, given that boats are asked to keep a minimum distance of 100 metres from whales under Transport Canada guidelines.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans also has plans to increase that distance to 200 metres for southern resident killer whales, though they haven't been enacted yet.
But it's unclear where the orcas were in relation to the vessels by the time they were spotted. If boats accidentally come closer than 100 metres, they're asked to power down their vessel and wait for the animals to pass.
Harbour Master Randy Wright said in his 20 years operating the area, he has never seen orcas come so far into the harbour.