09/30/2012 07:21 EDT | Updated 11/30/2012 05:12 EST

Victoria Whale Advocacy Group Wants Funding Restored

People watch as a young humpback whale struggles in the surf after washing up near Main Beach in East Hampton, N.Y., Tuesday, April 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Newsday, Gordon M. Grant) **NYC OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT**

As Fisheries and Oceans Canada touts a first-ever conviction under the Species at Risk Act, a Victoria whale-advocacy group wants its federal funding back.

Carl Peterson will be sentenced this fall for charging killer whales in his power boat in the waters off Campbell River.

"The fact that this case did go through and that somebody's been convicted, I think it really goes to show the education and the monitoring is still very much needed out there," said Leah Thorpe with the Cetus Research and Conservation Society.

The society runs Straitwatch, a program that works to keep B.C. boaters at least 100 metres away from marine animals.

But the society pulled its boats out of the water in July because its federal funding wasn't renewed even though Straitwatch is listed as an official monitor for killer whales in the Species at Risk Act.

"As one of the organizations that provides this monitoring, that's part of the recovery strategy so we are sort of like the eyes and the ears out on the water for the fisheries officers that can't always be out there on patrol," said Thorpe.

Thorpe said Ottawa told the organization there just isn't enough money to go around.

Now Cetus is working to raise $300,000 to keep Straitwatch going.

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