Summary

The Southern Resident killer whales need to find 900 Pacific Chinook salmon a day to feed their community. However, salmon fisheries are managed for human consumption, with zero allocated for endangered whales, who are almost completely dependent on Chinook for survival.

Why it Matters

When the Southern Resident killer whales were listed as Endangered in 2005, there were 88 members of the community – today there are only 74 (including 3 young calves). Without a reliable source of wild Pacific Chinook salmon, this community with their unique culture and language will be lost forever.

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Take Action

Ask NOAA Fisheries to allocate a share of the Chinook salmon fishery catch to endangered Southern Resident killer whales.
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1 Killer Whale1 Day20 Chinook Salmon

1 Killer Whale1 Day20 Chinook Salmon

Killer Whales & Salmon

Chinook (aka King) is the largest of the Pacific salmon. They co-evolved with the unique and diverse wildlife of the Pacific Northwest, including fish-eating orcas like the Southern Residents. But today, wild Pacific salmon populations are in trouble from British Columbia to California.

Overfishing over the last 100 years – together with other human impacts – has decimated this once abundant species, also dramatically reducing their size and weight. Today the total number of wild Chinook in the Pacific Northwest is a fraction of historic levels. Evidence shows that in years when wild Chinook populations decline, so do the Southern Residents.

The Greatest Threat

Lack of Chinook salmon is responsible for a pregnancy failure rate of 69%, with calves dying before, at, or shortly after birth. Mothers struggle to raise their surviving calves, with insufficient food for the two of them. This malnutrition causes the whole community to be more susceptible to infectious disease, and to the negative effects of pollution and vessels.

Commercial and recreational fisheries continue to catch Chinook salmon, as do tribes – with their own allocation. However, these killer whales – the original fishers of Chinook – are not allocated a share of the annual catch. If we’re to save them from extinction, we must give them a fair share.

Regional Administrator Barry Thom

West Coast Region - NOAA Fisheries

The Southern Resident killer whales are struggling for survival due to insufficient wild Chinook salmon throughout their range from Washington to California. NOAA Fisheries has the authority to manage salmon fisheries to help recover this endangered population, and so I respectfully request that you urgently allocate them a share of the West Coast Chinook salmon fishery to prevent their extinction. Thank you.

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Write & CallNOAA Fisheries

Ask for a share of the Chinook salmon fishery

Key Talking Points

Customize your letter with these additional options.

  • Time is running out for the Southern Resident killer whales.
  • Immediate action is needed if we are to save these whales from extinction.
  • Insufficient food is preventing these whales from raising healthy calves to grow the population.
  • The best available science shows that lack of salmon is the number one threat to these endangered whales.
  • Fisheries from Washington to California are removing Chinook salmon vital to the survival of this endangered population.
  • Few fishing seasons remain to give these starving families their fair share of the catch.

Did you Know?

All direct contact to local, state, and federal elected or appointed officials has to be counted and reported and really can make a difference.

Your personal letter, email, or phone call has a much HIGHER value than any “click and send” website letter or petition. You can use our samples to get you started…

Mr. Barry Thom
Regional Administrator,
West Coast Region NOAA Fisheries
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd. Ste. 1100
Portland, OR 97232

Sample Letter

Dear Administrator Thom,

I am alarmed that the Southern Resident killer whales are struggling for survival due to lack of wild Chinook salmon throughout their range. As the Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, West Coast Region, I respectfully request that you allocate them a portion of the annual Chinook salmon fishery, until spawning grounds and other key salmon habitats are restored for the benefit of all that rely on them – from tribes and coastal communities, to endangered marine mammals.

In 2005, Southern Resident killer whales were listed under the Endangered Species Act when the population stood at 88. Over the last 15 years – on your watch – this population has further declined to 74 today. In fact, due to insufficient Chinook, 69% of detected pregnancies have failed at, or before birth. This malnutrition is making them more susceptible to infectious disease, and to the negative effects of pollution, and vessels.

Commercial and recreational fisheries continue to fish for wild Chinook, with a catch limit set each year, as well as an allocation to tribes. However, these whales – the original fishers of Chinook – are not allocated their fair share.

At NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, you are “committed to conserving and protecting, using science-based conservation and management.” I ask that you now use the best available science that shows the Southern Residents are failing to find sufficient Chinook salmon to support their community, and remedy this immediately by allocating them a share of the West Coast Chinook salmon catch. The extinction of this unique culture is preventable if we take action now.

Sincerely,

 

__________________

Address

Mr. Barry Thom
Regional Administrator
West Coast Region
NOAA Fisheries
1201 NE Lloyd Boulevard, Ste. 1100
Portland, OR 97232

Administrator Thom
Regional Administrator
West Coast Region NOAA Fisheries

(503)231-6266

Sample Script

Hello, I’m calling today with a message for Administrator Thom.

My name is _______ and I am a resident of ______ state.

I’m alarmed that the endangered Southern Resident killer whales are unable to find sufficient Chinook salmon throughout their range.

As a matter of urgency, I’m asking that you allocate them a share of the annual West Coast Chinook fishery,

They need wild Chinook salmon to survive and to raise their calves to grow this fragile population. Without a fair share of the catch, their community simply cannot survive.

Please prevent the extinction of this unique culture by taking action now.

Thank you.

Contact

(503)231-6266

Mr. Barry Thom
Regional Administrator
West Coast Region
NOAA Fisheries
Portland, Oregon