2019 management measures to protect Southern Resident killer whales
The seasonal distribution and movement patterns of Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) are strongly associated with the availability of their preferred prey, chinook salmon, however wild populations of chinook salmon have declined dramatically in recent years. This lack of prey has been a critical factor in the decline of Southern Resident killer whales. To address this, the Government of Canada implemented fishery management measures to protect Fraser River chinook salmon, a vital food source for Southern Resident killer whales.
Fishery management measures for 2019 included closures to help increase the availability of chinook salmon and decrease noise disturbance in the key SRKW foraging (feeding) areas found in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Gulf Islands and the mouth of the Fraser River. A mandatory 400-metre approach distance for all killer whales was also in effect from June 1 through to October 31 2019 in the Southern Resident killer whale critical habitat.
While these seasonal measures have come to an end for the 2019 season, the Marine Mammal Regulations continue to remain in effect year-round, including maintaining a minimum 200 metre approach distance from all killer whales in Canadian Pacific waters, and, for other whales, porpoises and dolphins, a minimum approach distance of 100 metres or 200 metres when in resting position or with a calf.
Management measures to protect Southern Resident killer whales
- Watching marine wildlife
- Protecting Canada's Endangered Whales
- Oceans Protection Plan Report to Canadians
- Protecting our Coasts - Oceans Protection Plan
- Killer whale (Northeast Pacific, southern resident population) summary report
- $167.4 million Whales Initiative: Protecting the Southern Resident killer whale
- Transport Canada: Interim Order for the Protection of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Waters of Southern British Columbia
- Government of Canada announces enhanced measures for protecting British Columbia’s Southern Resident killer whales
- Let’s Talk – Oceans Protection Plan
- Past consultations: Comment on proposed 2019 measures to address key threats to Southern Resident Killer Whale
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