Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales need your help!

Why this action is needed

On May 7, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced the 2024 management measures to support Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) recovery.

While there are some superficial changes, there is nothing substantively new in this year’s measures, only the seasonal addition of a voluntary vessel slowdown area that covers Tumbo Channel, off Saturna Island, and a small new closure in a sub-area in Juan de Fuca Strait.

This year’s measures do not rise to the multifactorial challenges that these orcas face, and fail to provide any incremental supports that this endangered species can count on. The urgency, bold action, and vision needed at this stage is missing. Simply put, the status quo is not a recovery plan.

The status quo is especially troubling as we continue degrading orca habitat and accelerating biodiversity loss without applying additional measures to facilitate the resiliency of these endangered whales. Examples include this month’s start-up of the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMX), the looming Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion (RBT2), and the proposed Tilbury marine jetty and associated liquified natural gas (LNG) project, all of which are proposed for critical orca and Chinook Salmon habitat. The result is that the threats to orcas’ survival are only getting exponentially more troublesome while regulations stagnate.

The DFO has, in effect, provided a managed extinction plan for Southern Resident orcas.