‘Sentinels of Silence?’ - Exciting News
FILM SYNOPSIS: Does whale watching protect or harm whales? This film explores heated controversies over whale watching, boat noise, and orca conservation in Washington State and British Columbia. Whale watching companies claim that they serve as "sentinels" protecting the orca from unwary recreational boaters, ferries, and ships. A number of local conservationists and scientists have argued that whale watching boats crowd and harass whales, while adding noise to the orcas' immediate environment that makes it difficult for the social species to survive. The Pacific Whale Watch Association has hired lobbyists and brought suit against their local opponents. "Sentinels of Silence?" uses dramatic imagery, peer-reviewed science, and interviews with conservationists, scientists, and industry officials to bring a fascinating chapter in the orca conservation story to light.
EXCITING NEWS: We are delighted to announce that ‘Sentinels of Silence?’, showing as one of our December monthly screenings was instrumental in The WA Fish and Wildlife deciding to impose the rules called for in the film, an historic change in policy. Here is the press release by the Centre for Biological Diversity although they and the film director Mark Pedelty would have liked the commission to have gone further: https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/washington-finalizes-rules-better-protect-orcas-vessel-noise-2020-12-18/ "Option A includes a three-month July-September season for motorized commercial whale watching of SRKW with two, two-hour periods per day where viewing SRKW is allowed at closer than one-half nautical mile (limit of 3 motorized commercial whale watching vessels per group of SRKW). In the final stages of drafting the proposed rule, text that would limit viewing to Friday-Monday was inadvertently included in Option A. WDFW solicited comments on Option A as filed, but also accepted comments on the possibility of daily viewing during those months. There were 4000 comments in favor of Option A, the most stringent regulations proposed, and all of the policy makers involved watched the film. Several org leaders have credited the film with helping to convince the commission to vote for the new oversight rules." - Mark Pedelty We congratulate Mark Pedelty on his wonderful film and remarkable achievement.