External review of the critical habitat section of the draft Amended Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada
Current status: Closed
Public consultation was opened on June 12 2018 and closed to new input on July 11 2018.
How to provide input
The draft amended Recovery Strategy will be now be revised where required based on feedback from this consultation, and posted as a proposed document on the Species at Risk Public Registry for a 60-day online public comment period. We anticipate this to occur in August through October 2018. The Government will then have 30 days to incorporate comments before posting the final document on the Species at Risk Public Registry, anticipated to occur by December 2018.
Why we are seeking input?
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) would like your feedback on the revised critical habitat section (section 7) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) draft Amended Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada.
Who we are seeking input from?
Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, ENGOs, other government agencies, researchers, and interested individuals are invited to provide feedback on the critical habitat section (section 7) of the draft Amended Recovery Strategy.
Key points for discussion
- The draft Amended Recovery Strategy updates the critical habitat for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales based on new science advice
- It identifies two additional areas of special importance as proposed critical
habitat for Resident Killer Whales. These include:
- waters on the continental shelf off southwestern Vancouver Island, including Swiftsure and La Pérouse Banks (important for both Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales)
- waters of west Dixon Entrance, along the north coast of Graham Island from Langara to Rose Spit (important for Northern Resident Killer Whales)
- The amendment also provides clarification of the functions, features and attributes for all critical habitat identified for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales
Your feedback will be used to inform future recovery actions under the Species at Risk Act as well as other Acts such as the Fisheries Act. However, there are no immediate plans to add new closures, or to change the 2018 fisheries closures that protect the key foraging areas as described in the 2018 Southern Pacific Salmon Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.
- Further information on aquatic species at risk
- Further information on the Species at Risk Act
- Northern Resident Killer Whale Species at Risk public registry species profile
- Southern Resident Killer Whale Species at Risk public registry species profile
- Questions and Answers: Critical Habitat for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada
- COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Killer Whale Orcinus orca in Canada (COSEWIC 2008)
- Identification of Habitats of Special Importance to Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the West Coast of Canada (Science Advisory Report 2017/011)
- Report on the Progress of Recovery Strategy Implementation for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada for the Period 2009-2014 (DFO 2016)
Further information on recovery initiatives for Resident Killer Whales:
- The Government of Canada is committed to protecting these whales, and is taking actions to protect and recover the species. We are weighing all the options to ensure protections are in place as rapidly as possible
- The Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada, published in 2017, provides further detail on focused activities needed for recovery of Southern Resident Killer Whales
- In 2017, under the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, a science-based Review of the Effectiveness of Recovery Measures for Southern Resident Killer Whales identified and recommended five new recovery activities to address threats to the population including management of fisheries to consider Southern Resident Killer Whale prey needs, and mitigation of contaminants and disturbance (acoustic and physical) threats
- Disturbance (harassment) of marine mammals, including Killer Whales, is prohibited by the Marine Mammal Regulations of Canada’s Fisheries Act and by US federal legislation. Government and non-governmental organizations reduce vessel disturbance through boater outreach and education programs as well as on-water enforcement and vessel monitoring, particularly in Resident Killer Whale critical habitats
- The Government of Canada has taken and continues to take concrete action to protect
Southern Resident killer whales, such as:
- For the 2018 fishing season, DFO has introduced new recreational and commercial fishery management measures to increase prey availability and reduce disturbance from fishing vessels in three key Southern Resident Killer Whale foraging areas: Juan de Fuca Strait, Gulf Islands and the mouth of the Fraser River. These fishing closures are all within existing critical habitat. More details at: https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/maps-cartes/salmon-saumon/2018-skrw-ers-eng.html
- The Government of Canada has introduced new rules that will prohibit vessels from approaching Killer Whales closer than 200m—this will help minimize noise disturbance and allow the whales to feed more easily.
Species at Risk Program
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200-401 Burrard St
Vancouver BC V6C 3S4
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