A decades-long tradition for tourists and locals alike is coming to an end. Feeding the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf is now banned.
The Greater Victoria Harbour said in a statement this morning that they would be taking steps to stop the public feeding of wildlife, including seals.
“We know that the practice of hand-feeding marine wildlife from our docks is dangerous and unsustainable,” says Al-Nashir Charania, environmental projects coordinator at the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.
“Our goal with this is to help change public behaviour over time, in alignment with measures taken by regulators including Fisheries and Oceans.”
Visitors to Fisherman’s Wharf will see new signs and interpretation panels at the dock to educate members of the public, the harbour authority said.
“Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular attractions in Victoria, we don’t expect that to change,” Charania added.
Fisheries officers have tried to dissuade the public from feeding seals at local tourist spots such as the Oak Bay Marina and Fisherman’s Wharf for over a decade.
The DFO announced last summer it intended to make it an offence by proposing amendments to the regulation that would clearly prohibit feeding marine mammals.
Seal feeding at Fisherman’s Wharf has also become a public safety hazard, attracting other aggressive wildlife like river otters and gulls to the dock, according to the harbour authority.