Salish Sea orcas and Chinook salmon need new safeguards now!

Center for Whale Research

We can help orcas and Chinook salmon recover, but strong measures needed for 2023

Over the past few years, humpback whales along Canada’s Pacific Coast have made an amazing recovery. It shows that species can bounce back when given a chance.

The birth of a southern resident orca calf (J-59) to Hy’shqa (J-37) in February 2022 is cause for celebration, keeping hope alive.

That’s why we’re urging Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to follow the science and expand fishing closures, regulations and enforcement to help Salish Sea orcas.

Join us in asking the federal government to protect the 73 remaining southern resident killer whales from pollution and ship noise, and to prioritize Fraser River Chinook salmon recovery.

We also have new science that shows where orcas hunt for Chinook salmon, their preferred prey. Strong evidence tells us orcas are easily disturbed by boats, making it harder for them to catch food. Photogrammetry studies show orca body condition and J pod survival are tightly linked to the abundance of Fraser River Chinook. New research shows that 12 whales are in poor body condition and have not been getting enough to eat since 2018.

We know that some of the most threatened and endangered Chinook salmon in southern B.C. are also some of the most important to these orcas. To protect the salmon and the orca that depend on them requires science-based recovery plans, including reduced recreational fishing over the short term.

That’s why we’re asking you to join us in telling Minister Murray to close salmon-fishing activities in critical areas where Salish Sea orcas feed on wild Chinook salmon.