Feds reject Emergency Order for Orcas

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel.

Nature Canada is disappointed that the federal government has declined to issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act that nature groups are saying is needed to protect the endangered Southern Resident Orcas of  British Columbia’s Salish Sea.

A November 1, 2018 order-in-council indicates that the government has already taken measures to assist recovery of these Orcas (e.g., monitoring ship noise, imposing a 200-metre buffer to keep marine vessels away from Orcas). This is certainly true; the problem is that they are not in themselves adequate to save these whales.

Nature Canada continues to believe that an emergency order is the most efficient way to coordinate and direct the work of federal departments such as Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada, Parks Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada that are working on saving the Orcas from extirpation.


Some key actions that must be taken to protect critical habitat in the Salish Sea include:

  • Restricting Chinook salmon fisheries in areas where these Orcas feed, and closing Chinook fishing on the Fraser River;
  • Enforcing the 200-meter buffer between marine vessels and Orcas and implementing better rules for whale-watching boats
  • Imposing a 10 knot speed limit on marine vessels and slowing down BC Ferries;
  • Reducing noise and disturbance for commercial vessels travelling in or near Orca foraging areas; and
  • Establishing the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area.

Lets keep up the pressure: sign our petition and save the Southern Resident Orcas.


For more details on the work that Nature Canada is doing, please consult the following:


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