Haida Guardian Watchmen and federal fisheries officers have another tool to help stranded marine mammals.
Officers and Watchmen trained together in Masset this week with a pontoon and a sling kit which can be used to rescue sea life stranded on the beach.
Genevieve Cauffopé is Acting Senior Compliance Program Officer for the Oceans Protection Plan.
She says the Marine Mammal response training included the simulated rescue of a mid-size cetacean like a killer whale.
Cauffopé says there are a couple of things to remember if you come across a marine mammal in distress like a beached whale.
She says public awareness about marine mammals in distress appears to be growing. While the DFO’s hotline once received an average of 200 calls a year, that number hit nearly 700 last year.
The new sling and pontoon rescue kits will be kept on hand in Masset, Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, Tofino, and the Lower Mainland.
As part of the training, Cauffopé says the officers and watchmen also learned how to affix satellite tags to whales during disentanglement operations and take tissue samples from dead marine mammals for analysis.
Funding for the new equipment and training is through the Federal Oceans Protection Plan.