Southern Resident Killer Whales


September 17, 2018  – SFI member update including details about upcoming information sessions and suggestions for developing a response to discussions regarding establishment of Critical Habitat areas.  And, find some relevant links and documents about Southern and Northern Killer Whales at the bottom of the page and as follows:

Habitats of Special Importance to Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the West Coast of Canada

Science Advisory Report 2017/011 – Identification of Habitats of Special Importance to Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the West Coast of Canada

Amended 2018 Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada

SAR Public Registry – responses received until November 3, 2018

September 26, 2018 Webinar Presentation: Proposed Amended Recovery Strategy for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada

There has been discussion about the health of Southern Resident Killer Whales over many years, a symposium in the fall of 2017 and associated comments by the Fisheries Minister at the time, the Honourable Dominic Leblanc, signaled an interest and a call to action by government to make changes to the circumstances and environment that SRKW currently find themselves.

While the approach to Southern Resident Killer Whale recovery efforts will likely be multi-faceted there would seem little doubt that the recreational sector needs to be aware of the issue and prepared to modify activities so that we can be a part of the recovery of these magnificent animals.  While scientific studies agree that ceasing harvest will not provide the desired increase in abundance of Chinook salmon for SRKW, there is evidence that increasing production of chinook salmon and addressing marine noise and disturbances should help.  Reduction of marine noise can be affected immediately by reducing speeds and agreeing to leave a wide corridor around moving Killer Whales.  Increasing numbers of Chinook salmon, Killer Whales preferred food, can take place relatively quickly and can be augmented and enhanced through use of ocean pens to temporarily hold and feed juvenile Chinook.  The survival rates of juvenile salmon held even for a month in an ocean pen is as much as 10 times higher, from 3% to as high as 30%, than that of fry or smolt entering the ocean directly from estuarine or river environments.  A combination of reduced interaction or interference with the whales as they try to feed and forage and a concerted effort to increase production of Chinook salmon generally and particularly using ocean net pens to briefly hold and feed juveniles would by, many accounts, go a long way to aiding in the recovery of these fantastic animals.

We will dedicate this space to provide updates and links to important and relevant information on the subject.

The Effects of Salmon Fisheries on SRKW – Final Report of the Independent Science Panel prepared for NOAA and DFO

SFI Letter Regarding SRKW – November 2017

SRKW and Chinook – DFO Presentation given at the SFI Conference – November 2017

Competing Tradeoffs – Marine Mammal Predation and Fisheries Harvest of Chinook Salmon – Scientific Reports

Seals and Sea Lions may be slowing salmon recovery, hurting Orcas – Christopher Dunagan, Puget Sound Institute

Be Whale Wise – a promotional effort and website aimed at spreading the word to Pacific Northwest residents about the regulations that govern human-whale interaction.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Ecosystems and Ocean Science Documents:

Chinook salmon abundance levels and survival of resident Killer Whales – 2009

Identification of habitats of special importance to resident Killer Whales (Orcinus Orca) off the west coast of Canada

Link to the Species at Risk Public Registry documents: Action Plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) in Canada

SRKW Discussion Paper: Proposed 2018 Salmon Fishery Management Measures to Support Chinook Salmon Prey Availability for Southern Resident Killer Whales – February 15, 2018

SRKW Prey Workshop 2018 – Availability of Prey for Southern Resident Killer Whales

SRKW DFO Presentation – Webinar – Feb 23, 2018

SRKW Feb 23, 2018 DFO Handout

SFAB SRKW Committee Report to the SFAB: A summary of special SFAC meetings in early 2018 and a motion regarding proposed measures – April 14, 2018

SFI response to conservation measures for Northern and Southern BC Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales Fishery Notice – May 30, 2018

External review of the critical habitat section of the draft amended recovery strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales in Canada – Consultation period June 12 – July 11, 2018

RKW External Review – DFO invitation – June 2018

Critical habitat section of draft Amended – DFO document – June 2018

September 5, 2018 Lawsuit launched to protect southern resident orca – Audio link to CBC Radio with Dr. Andrew Trites

Minister fires back at groups for suing over killer whales – Times Colonist – September 9, 2018

Dr. Andrew Trites at the 25th Annual B.C. Marine Mammal Symposium in Vancouver – November 2017

Additional and Relevant Documents – regarding salmon and pinnipeds

Competing tradeoffs between increasing marine mammal predation and fisheries harvest of Chinook salmon

Island Marine Aquatic Working Group – Diagram of competing tradeoffs

Demographic changes in Chinook salmon across the Northeast Pacific Ocean


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