By Jon Kurland
Here in Alaska, we live with some of the most incredible wildlife in the world. Wildlife viewing is part of what makes our corner of the planet so special and draws so many visitors to our state.
Living in the middle of wildlife habitat as we do in Alaska comes with responsibility—the responsibility for each of us to dwell among these special creatures in a manner that minimizes harmful encounters between humans and wildlife, and to educate others on how to do that as well.
This is especially true when it comes to marine mammals like whales and sea lions. All marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and any species on the list of threatened or endangered species is additionally protected under the Endangered Species Act.
When it comes to encounters with marine mammals, not only could you be placing yourself and others in danger, you could be breaking the law as well—and that could result in a fine.
Several recent incidents in Southeast Alaska waters suggest that a reminder is in order to help keep marine mammals and people safe from one another. Unfortunately, NOAA Fisheries has received reports this summer of commercial and recreational boats crowding whales, people feeding sea lions, and even a report of people intentionally approaching feeding whales on stand-up paddleboards. Such behavior can be extremely dangerous for humans and marine mammals alike.
We at NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region encourage you to observe our marine mammal viewing Code of Conduct for your own well-being, and for that of marine mammals: More....