Don’t water down safeguards for orcas and salmon!

Center for Whale Research

Weaker 2022 measures move in the wrong direction

Recent births of southern resident orca calves to J and K pods are reasons to celebrate. They keep hope alive for these endangered marine mammals. But Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff weakened the 2022 protections for orca and Chinook.

Join us and thousands of others urging Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to follow the science and expand protection areas, regulations and enforcement to help Salish Sea orcas. Together we can protect the remaining 73 endangered orcas from pollution and ship noise, and prioritize Chinook salmon recovery.

A 2021 report by independent monitor Straitwatch showed poor compliance with and enforcement of measures to stop boats and whale-watching vessels from harassing orcas. But no new policies prevent operators from intentionally tracking southern residents into the U.S. to avoid Canadian rules.

New science better shows where orcas hunt for Chinook salmon (their preferred prey) and that they’re easily disturbed by boats, making it harder for them to catch food. So it’s particularly disappointing to see a sanctuary zone removed and large parts of critical feeding areas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Fraser River mouth still open to harmful salmon fishing.

Some of the most threatened and endangered Chinook salmon in southern B.C. are also among the most important to these orcas. Protecting them and the salmon they depend on them requires science-based recovery plans, including reduced recreational fishing over the short term.

Please tell Minister Murray to tell her DFO staff to take stronger — NOT weaker —measures! It’s time to increase the size of areas closed to salmon fishing where Salish Sea orcas feed on wild Chinook salmon.