British Columbia’s first whale watching business is closing at the end of the month after nearly four decades in business, as the company’s lease is terminated.
Stubbs Island Whale Watching, located on northern Vancouver Island, went on sale late last season.
The owners had planned to continue to organize viewings until a like-minded buyer was found and say the lease changes with Telegraph Cove Resort were unexpected.
“The beauty of Telegraph Cove is that wildlife was literally right on our doorstep,” owner Heike Weiske said.
“It’s an amazing place. We were really lucky to be there.”
Stubbs Island, known for its conservation efforts and keeping a respectful distance from wildlife during tours, has operated out of Telegraph Cove Resort since 1980.
The station announced on Tuesday that it would team up with another whale-watching company, Prince of Whales.
As Stubbs Island closes, Weiske said she hopes businesses coming to fill the void will also focus on environmental issues and sustainability.
“The culture of the North…it’s about protection and conservation, and I hope that climate doesn’t change with the arrival of a new player there,” she told Gregor Craigie, the host of the CBC show. On the island.
“Balance of connection with nature”
Stubbs Island began as a diving business, but interest soon turned to the large number of whales in nearby waters.
Over the decades, Weiske estimates that half a million guests from 60 different countries have come to view the majestic animals.
“The demand is growing every day,” Weiske said. “In this world of technology, I think people are looking for that balance of connecting with nature.”
Whale watching, however, is not without worries.
Last year, new federal regulations were introduced to keep boaters at least 200 yards from killer whales.
Northern Resident orcas are a common sight when visiting Stubbs Island. Unlike the endangered southern resident whales, the northern population is increasing.
Despite this, Weiske stressed the importance of responsible business practices to protect marine life.
“We were making money, but we always kept in mind that the whales have been protected and we have to do it in a responsible and sustainable way,” she said.