“I’ve had enough and I just can’t do this anymore.”
After 15-years as a whale watch tour operator, Captain Alan “Hobbes” Buchanan’s passion for whales has led him to create Orca Protection & Rescue, a new organization aimed at helping to save the whales and wildlife of the Salish Sea. Orca Protection & Rescue will focus on whale watch regulations and enforcement, and marine debris and plastics removal.
“I’m done with too many whale watch and private boats around the whales at one time, not enough enforcement, some bad tour operators due to poor training, and ignorance around these majestic animals!” said Captain Hobbes.
Orca Protection & Rescue is focused on protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs), transient killer whales (Biggs), and humpback and gray whales.
When Captain Hobbes began as a whale watch captain in 2002, only 15-20 vessels engaged with the 90+ whales that made up the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. Today, over 97 whale watch boats engage with only 76 whales; the boats are from the San Juan Islands, Anacortes, Everett, Seattle, Port Townsend, Victoria, Sidney, Vancouver, and other small Canadian towns. These vessels do not account for the private boats, ferries, commercial shipping, research boats, or enforcement vessels also operating daily.
Orca Protection & Rescue is concerned with the growing number of whale watch companies and increasing vessel traffic, with no permits or training required, due to sound and other interference as the whale populations hunt and socialize.
“… that’s well over 120 boats! Whales change their behavior and stop feeding when lots of boats and noise are around them, no wonder they are starving to death. And as of now, there are still no permits or training required by local, state or federal agencies to operate a whale watch company. And the number of boats is still growing…” Captain Hobbes explains. Read More »