Just a week after voting to ban keeping dolphins & whales in captivity, the Canadian government announced on Oct 31st that it will be committing $61.5 million dollars to the protection of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. The specie is facing serious threats to their survival in the wild.

With this action, the Government of Canada is hoping to help the Southern Resident Killer Whale population recover from their depletion.
Indeed those whales are in dire need of help. Their pod represent the smallest of four resident communities within the Northeastern portion of North America Pacific Ocean. It is the only killer whale population listed under the Endangered Species Act by NOAA. As of September 2018 there are only 74 individuals that make up this small population.

killer whales
Killer whales. (Holly Fearnbach, NOAA)

How will it be spent?

  • Introducing measures to help protect the Chinook salmon population (a primary source of food for Southern Resident Killer Whales).
  • Continue to identify and protect areas of habitat necessity for whale population survival and recovery.
  • New agreements with ferry operators and marine industry partners to help reduce noise pollution in Canadian waters.
  • Expanding the slowdown operations for water vessels in an effort to reduce noise pollution.
  • Expanding monitoring systems and develop real-time capabilities to reduce the likelihood of whale encounters, including funding to Ocean Wise for the development and operation of Whale Report Alert System.
  • Work on a Southern Resident Killer Whale sanctuary within sub-areas of critical habitat used by the whales.
  • More control over five key pollutants that are impacting the whale population in Canadian waters currently.

 

The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna stated
“The Southern Resident Killer Whale is a vital component of the local marine ecosystem and has cultural significance for Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in British Columbia. These magnificent creatures face an imminent threat to their survival and recovery, and we are taking immediate action to better protect them. Building on Canada’s historic Oceans Protection Plan, we are putting in place stronger controls on contaminants impacting whales. These new additional measures will help better protect, preserve and restore our marine ecosystems.”

 

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