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No dogs on the beach from now until April 30
It’s that time of year again to keep our furry friends from frolicking on the beach, giving our visitors, the Pacific Black Brant, some space to rest and bulk up for the next leg of their journey.
Nanaimo conservation officer Stuart Bates said that although the geese don’t seem to mind people as much, dogs both big and small make them scurry.
“The geese see any dog as a predator,” said Bates, adding the Brant’s main predator up North is the Arctic Fox. “If they see a dog from even a distance on a leash they will stop feeding and fly out to sea.”
Bates said one five-minute-flight like this could mean six more hours of feeding to make up for. The geese are primarily feeding on eelgrass and herring roe, he said, looking to increase their fat stores.
Bates said residents have been very compliant with the beach closures to date and minimal fines have been given out. If necessary however, conservation officers will issue a $230 fine for dogs on the beach up until April 30.
Vancouver Island University Students, training to be fisheries and conservation officers, will be out on the beaches during the closures helping to educate the public.
Bates asked that people also keep their distance from the Brant, and take pictures from afar.
The beach closures are in effect in Parksville from Doehle Ave. to the Englishman River. People are still allowed to walk their dogs on the boardwalk at Parksville Beach.
Other closures to dogs include Little Qualicum River to Seacroft Rd. in Qualicum and Columbia Beach in French Creek. Bates added that dogs are not allowed on the beach at Rathtrevor Park during the closures.
The beach closures took effect March 1.