The Pacific Whale Watch Association is embracing new regulations set out by the federal government, doubling the distance vessels can be from southern resident killer whales.

Instead of waiting for the rule to come into effect in the spring, the organization says it’s acting immediately.

Nineteen ports in B.C. and Washington State and 32 companies that fall into the association voluntarily updated their guidelines.

Instead of staying 100 metres from the endangered species, vessels will stay 200 metres from them.

The group says it’s discussed the increase internally for months to align with rules in the U.S.

It’s hoped the rule change will help protect the whales.