Nature Canada reiterates call for Emergency Order to save Orcas

Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and Legal Counsel.

Nature Canada is reiterating its call for the federal government to issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act to implement a revised Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Orcas.

Time is short if these Orcas are to be  saved. The Recovery Strategy was first issued in 2008 and amended in 2011.  Now the government is consulting Canadians about designating additional critical habitat for these populations, as well as measures to protect this critical habitat. The deadline for submissions is Saturday November 3, 2018

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.

The government has announced a new program to monitor and model underwater noise in the Salish Sea. This clearly will not be enough as the number of vessels—including oil tankers—continues to increase.

In addition to our submission setting out in more detail why these key actions are needed, Nature Canada will be submitting the petitions signed by nearly 10,000 of our members and supporters calling for an emergency order to save the Orcas.

There is still time to sign our petition and save the Southern Resident Orcas.


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