Summary

On November 16, the Pacific Fishery Management Council will conclude a process that could set the agenda for ocean salmon fishing from Washington to California for the next decade, and impact the future survival of the Southern Resident orcas.

Why it Matters

Without reliable sources of wild salmon, these orcas will go extinct. Poor nutrition is responsible for a pregnancy failure rate of 69%, and so the population is struggling to grow. This year, for the first time on record, the residents were absent from the Salish Sea almost all of April, May, June, and August. Their spring/summer diet—mostly Chinook (aka King) salmon—was in short supply in inland waters and so they had to search for food offshore in the Pacific.

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Take Action

Submit a Public Comment to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council in defense of Fair Fisheries for endangered Southern Resident killer whales.
Submit Your Comment NowWhat to sayStep-by-Step Instructions

Deadline

Submit your comment by November 8 at 5PM PST

What to Say

Craft your own Public Comment by using some of our suggestions.

"Time is running out for the Southern Resident Killer Whales."

"Insufficient food is preventing these orcas from raising healthy calves to grow the population."

"The best available science shows that lack of salmon is the biggest threat to these orcas."

"Immediate action is required to save these orcas from extinction."

"Ocean fisheries remove Chinook salmon vital to the survival of this endangered population."

"Please move forward with Alternative D for the best chance for these orcas to find food AND please close the two orca feeding hotspots (critical habitat) off northern Oregon and Washington when the Chinook forecast is low."


Background

On November 16, the Pacific Fishery Management Council will conclude a process that could set the agenda for ocean salmon fishing from Washington to California for the next decade, and impact the future survival of the Southern Resident orcas.

Without reliable sources of wild salmon, these orcas will go extinct. Poor nutrition is responsible for a pregnancy failure rate of 69%, and so the population is struggling to grow. This year, for the first time on record, the residents were absent from the Salish Sea almost all of April, May, June, and August. Their spring/summer diet—mostly Chinook (aka King) salmon—was in short supply in inland waters and so they had to search for food offshore in the Pacific.

Tracking studies show several important foraging areas offshore from Washington State to California, and a government proposal would designate these areas as “critical habitat.” Protection for these orca foraging hotspots is now crucial, as the lack of salmon returning to the Salish Sea is making this historic feeding ground unreliable.

Therefore, Wild Orca is asking the Council to cease fishing in two of these critical habitat areas, off northern Oregon and Washington. This will trigger when the number of forecast Chinook salmon drops below a predetermined number—described as Alternative D in the Council’s menu of options.

While this scenario is less than perfect—ideally, these orcas would get a share of the fishery harvest—it would offer some benefit, and a little of something is better than 100% of nothing, which is likely the fishery managers’ preferred option.

We owe a future to the young calves born this year, to learn the unique language and culture of their community, and pass on these traditions to future generations.


Step-by-Step Instructions

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