Salish Sea orcas and Chinook salmon need new safeguards now!

Center for Whale Research

We can help orcas and Chinook salmon recover, but strong measures needed for 2022

Over the past few years, humpback whales along Canada’s Pacific Coast have made an amazing recovery. It shows that species can bounce back when given a chance. The recent birth of a southern resident orca calf to Hy’shqa (J-37) in February is cause for celebration, keeping hope alive.

That’s why we’re urging Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to follow the science and expand protection areas, regulations and enforcement to help Salish Sea orcas.

Join us in pushing the federal government to protect the 74 remaining southern resident killer whales from pollution and ship noise, and to prioritize Chinook salmon recovery.

A 2021 report by Straitwatch, an independent monitor, showed that compliance with and enforcement of recent measures to stop boats and whale-watching vessels from harassing orcas are lacking. Operators who intentionally view southern residents in the U.S. to avoid Canadian rules should have their viewing privileges removed.

We also have new science that shows where orcas hunt for Chinook salmon, their preferred prey. Strong evidence tells us orcas are easily disturbed by boats, making it harder for them to catch food.

We know that some of the most threatened and endangered Chinook salmon in southern B.C. are also some of the most important to these orcas. To protect the salmon and the orca that depend on them requires science-based recovery plans, including reduced recreational fishing over the short term.

That’s why we’re asking you to join us in telling Minister Murray to close salmon-fishing activities in critical areas where Salish Sea orcas feed on wild Chinook salmon.