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Banner image: Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale


Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale
Action Plan for Species at Risk

Victoria, Feb 2, 2012, The Maritime Museum of BC
Vancouver, Feb 9, 2012, Vancouver Maritime Museum
Port Hardy, Feb 23, 2012, Quarterdeck Inn Marina Resort

Open House 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Public Meeting 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Online Comment Form - The deadline to submit feedback is March 15, 2012


  1. To disseminate information on the development of the Resident Killer Whale Action Plan
  2. To seek input on the development of actions for the recovery of Resident Killer Whales
  3. To gather feedback on prioritization of actions related to disturbance from human activities
Time Activity Speaker
7:00 pm Welcome and Introductions Sheila Thornton
Paul Cottrell
7:05 pm Introduction to the consultation process Alan Dolan
7:10 pm The Species at Risk Act and the recovery process Sheila Thornton
7:20 pm Biology and Recovery Strategy for Resident Killer Whales Paul Cottrell
7:40 pm Objective: Ensure contaminants do not prevent recovery Sheila Thornton
7:50 pm Objective: Ensure adequate and accessible food supply Paul Cottrell
8:10 pm Objective: Ensure disturbance from human activities does not prevent recovery Paul Cottrell
8:40 pm Objective: Protect critical habitat and identify additional potential areas Sheila Thornton
8:50 pm Feedback process and website navigation Alan Dolan
8:55 pm Next Steps Paul Cottrell
9:00 pm Adjourn  

Paul Cottrell, Marine Mammal Coordinator, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 200-401 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
Sheila Thornton, SARA Recovery Planner, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 200-401 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
Alan Dolan, Facilitator, Alan Dolan & Associates, Victoria BC

Background Information

Two distinct populations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) known as the Northern and Southern Residents, occupy the waters off the west coast of British Columbia. In 2001, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated Southern Resident Killer Whales as “endangered” and Northern Resident Killer Whales as "threatened”. Both populations were listed in Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003.

SARA Section 37 requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for Schedule 1 listed species that are identified as extirpated, endangered or threatened; therefore, a recovery strategy process was led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and resulted in the posting of a recovery strategy document to the SARA Registry in March 2008. Minor amendments were made in October 2011 ( Fisheries and Oceans Canada will endeavor to support implementation of this strategy, given available resources and varying species at risk conservation priorities.

This recovery strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on the specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The minister will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians directly affected by these measures will be consulted.

The goal of the Resident Killer Whale recovery strategy is to:

Ensure the long-term viability of Resident Killer Whale populations by achieving and maintaining demographic conditions that preserve their reproductive potential, genetic variation, and cultural continuity.

In order to achieve this goal, four principal objectives were identified in the recovery strategy:

Objective 1: Ensure that Resident Killer Whales have an adequate and accessible food supply to allow recovery.

Objective 2: Ensure that chemical and biological pollutants do not prevent the recovery of Resident Killer Whale populations.

Objective 3: Ensure that disturbance from human activities does not prevent the recovery of Resident Killer Whales.

Objective 4: Protect critical habitat for Resident Killer Whales and identify additional areas for critical habitat designation and protection.

Significant gaps in knowledge about Killer Whales remain and numerous actions have been identified to address these knowledge gaps and to identify further directions for recovery. Action plans are recommended to address the threats and issues of knowledge gaps regarding 1) Resident Killer Whale population dynamics and demographics, 2) reduced prey availability, 3) environmental contaminants, 4) physical disturbance, 5) acoustic disturbance, and 6) critical habitat.

Technical workshops are undertaken to gather information and provide expertise in the process of action development and prioritization. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is interested in your opinion on the draft actions in support of the above objectives. This consultation process was undertaken to inform Canadians of the actions currently underway and to seek feedback on the draft actions in support of Objective 3. You may access the response form here: - The deadline to submit feedback is March 15, 2012.

As development of the Action Plan progresses, further consultation will occur and all dates and locations will be posted on the Pacific Region SARA Consultation Calendar: