Ottawa imposes new whale protection rules

New rules imposed Wednesday by the federal government will require vessels to stay 100 metres from most whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Department of Fisheries conservation official Corey Webster says the rules aren't intended to control whether a whale approaches a tour boat or other vessel, but to stop vessels from going out and harassing whales by chasing them or separating mothers from calves.

The announcement comes as people continue to flock to see two playful young belugas that have been cruising the waters just off a Cape Breton beach for about a week, with videos showing the curious whales coming within reach of various vessels.

A spokeswoman for the Whale Stewardship Project says there is a risk the belugas could become too familiar with people and boats, increasing their risk of injury.