What is new with Southern Resident killer whale recovery? Endangered Southern Resident killer whales have continued to decline over the last decade facing high levels of contaminants, insufficient salmon prey, and disturbance from vessels and noise.
An active research program informs the NOAA Fisheries recovery program. New measures on both sides of the border provided increased protection for the whales in the Salish Sea this past year. In Washington the Orca Task Force implemented actions and legislation from the Year 1 recommendations and completed its process with a Year 2 report. Canadian Technical Working Groups informed an interim rule for 2019 with vessel regulations, fishery adjustments and sanctuary zones and the shipping industry voluntarily slowed their vessels.
NOAA Fisheries proposed a revision to the critical habitat designation to include coastal waters and also announced public scoping to continue the conversation about protective measures to address vessel impacts. Efforts are also ongoing to collaborate on salmon management and conservation that supports recovery of Southern Residents, such as a workgroup to review coastal salmon fisheries, renewed focus on habitat restoration, and adjustments to hatchery production.
Learn how you can engage to continue the momentum and shape recovery in 2020.