Overfishing, habitat loss and pollution are pushing Pacific salmon towards extinction; 2020 saw the lowest catch of Pacific salmon in 40 years. Marine life such as orcas rely on these fish, as do indigenous communities, but they’re mostly caught in commercial fisheries. So, Canada’s new plan to halt and reverse this crisis brings new hope to endangered orcas.

Why it Matters

On the other side of the border, the U.S. government has no such plan; opting to “learn more” with a wait-and-see approach—until the last fish is caught. Yet bold, difficult, and decisive action is needed now. The U.S. must match and reinforce Canada’s efforts to save Pacific salmon, and offer a future for starving orcas who are dependent on them.

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Ask the U.S. government to match Canada's plan to prevent Pacific salmon extinction, and help save endangered killer whales.

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Ms. Jenni WallaceDeputy Director

NOAA Fisheries Office of Sustainable Fisheries

The Southern Resident killer whales are struggling for survival due to insufficient Chinook salmon. Yet fishing continues from Alaska to California despite the risk of catching endangered Chinook. 97% of Chinook caught in the Southeast Alaska fishery originate in rivers from B.C. to Oregon, threatening the future of these salmon, and predators in the ecosystem that rely on them.

Canada’s Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative recognizes that business as usual is unsustainable, and commits to significantly reducing commercial fishing to save salmon, starting 2021 season. The U.S. must match Canada’s plan if we are to prevent the extinction of Chinook and the endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

(301) 427-8500

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Deputy Director Wallace
Office of Sustainable Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries

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Sample Script

Hello, I’m calling today with a message for Deputy Director Wallace.

My name is ___________ and I am a resident of _________ state.

I’m alarmed that the endangered Southern Resident killer whales are unable to find enough Chinook salmon to survive, and that these salmon are also in trouble, with many at risk of extinction.

The Canadian government has announced a plan to save Pacific salmon before it’s too late.

So, as a matter of urgency, I’m asking the US government to match this plan to save Chinook salmon, and the killer whales that rely on them.

Thank you.

Mailing Address

Jenni Wallace – Deputy Director
NOAA Office of Sustainable Fisheries
1315 East-West Highway
13th Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Did you write?Let us know!

I Wrote!

Dear Ms. Wallace,

I am alarmed that the Southern Resident killer whales are struggling for survival. In 2005, when they were listed as Endangered, there were 88 whales. Today there are far fewer, with their main prey, Chinook salmon, also on the Endangered Species list.

As the Deputy Director for the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, I urge you to consider mirroring Canada’s new Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative, that seeks to halt and reverse the decline of Pacific salmon before it’s too late.

NOAA Fisheries could limit the Chinook catch, yet fishing continues despite the endangered status of killer whales and their prey. Canada’s plan recognizes that “business as usual” is unsustainable, and will significantly reduce commercial fishing to save Pacific salmon, starting 2021 with a 60% reduction in its fleet.

Yet, salmon travel hundreds of miles to feed, and only a fraction of Chinook caught in the south-east Alaska fishery are from Alaskan rivers—the majority would otherwise migrate back to spawn in BC, Washington and Oregon rivers, first passing through Southern Residents’ feeding areas.

Without joined-up policies between our two governments, Canada’s plan—to save salmon, and the endangered whales that depend on them—is put at risk. The U.S. must now step up with a match plan, and take similar difficult, but decisive actions.

Pacific salmon support wildlife, indigenous communities, fisheries and tourism, and saving them will also save the iconic Southern Resident killer whales from extinction.



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 them from extinction.
  • Insufficient food is preventing the endangered Southern Residents from raising healthy calves to grow the population. The best available science shows lack of Chinook salmon is the No. 1 threat.
  • Fisheries from Alaska to California are removing Chinook salmon vital to the survival of this endangered population. Few fishing seasons remain to save them from extinction.
  • Canada has announced sweeping fishery reforms to halt the alarming decline of Pacific salmon. Coupled with protections of key orca foraging areas, they're leading the way to save Pacific salmon, and endangered orcas. We must join them.
  • Canada’s Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative commits to significantly reduce commercial fishing. Yet they cannot be successful when salmon range widely in the Pacific, and those from home rivers from Oregon to BC are caught in Alaska fisheries.
  • Pacific salmon travel hundreds of miles to find food, yet fisheries are managed based on their home river. With dramatic declines of Pacific salmon, a radical rethink in policy must occur before it's too late.


The Canadian Plan

Canada’s “Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative” begins with an important first step—to drastically reduce fishing immediately, to give salmon a break so their populations can recover. In 2021, 60% of the commercial fishing fleet is grounded, and a voluntary buy-out scheme will reduce the size of the fleet in subsequent years. In addition, fishing is off-limits in areas where endangered orcas are known to hunt Chinook (King) salmon, the species they rely on year-round for survival.

The United States Plan

In 2020, U.S. salmon fishery managers voted to restrict fishing in order to leave more Chinook for endangered orcas—but ONLY in years when the season’s catch is expected to be small. Yet despite 2020 being one of the worst years on record, salmon fisheries in the U.S. Pacific in 2021 went ahead as usual—offering nothing additional for hungry orcas—despite evidence that lack of Chinook salmon is responsible for too many deaths, and too few births in their community.