Take action for Southern Resident killer whales

Tell your MP and responsible ministers to enact a mandatory 1,000 metre vessel buffer for endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Last week, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced the 2024 management measures to support Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) recovery. While the actions can help, boats are still allowed too close to these killer whales.  

Our House of Commons petition urges the federal government to enact a mandatory 1,000 metre vessel buffer around SRKWs. Such regulation is consistent with the legislation being implemented in Washington state. After receiving over 1,000 signatures, our petition will now be presented to Minister Diane Lebouthillier in the House of Commons by Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich and the Gulf Islands.

In the meantime, we have drafted a letter you can send to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Minister Diane Lebouthillier and your local MP. Please take a moment to review it and either send it in as is, or modify it as you see fit. 

Contacts

Minister Diane Lebouthillier: diane.lebouthillier@parl.gc.ca

Your local MP’s email can be found on the House of Commons website by typing in your postal code and clicking on the MP and then clicking on the tab “contact”.

The letter 

Dear [recipient position] [recipient name],

Your government recently released the 2024 management measures to support Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) recovery, and I am concerned that they still allow boats to get too close to these whales. 

Southern Residents are critically endangered. Their salmon food supply has greatly declined and their waters are noisy and polluted. This small population of 74 animals has very low birth rates and experiences premature deaths of adult whales. 

Recently, Washington State (U.S.) passed legislation (Senate Bill 5371) that establishes a mandatory 1,000-yard buffer for recreational and commercial whale watching vessels around Southern Resident killer whales. The law, which comes into effect in January, 2025, is consistent with the best available science on the effects of vessel presence on Southern Resident foraging efficiency, and will reduce the effects of vessel noise and disturbance on these marine mammals. 

Now is the time for Canada to introduce a mandatory 1,000-metre vessel buffer for recreational and commercial whale-watching vessels to match the protections provided by Washington State.

Sincerely [your name]

You can help

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Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.