Protecting the Southern Resident Killer Whale

On Friday, May 10th, the government announced the following recovery measures to protect SRKW’s.

  • All vessels are required to stay a minimum of 400 metres away from all killer whales.
  • Vessels are asked to reduce speed to less than 7 knots within 1,000 metres of killer whales and turn off echo sounders.
  • Commercial vessels are asked to slow down over a longer distance than last year through Haro Strait and Boundary Pass.
  • No vessel traffic in interim Sanctuary Zones established to protect three key foraging areas; west of Pender Island, south of Saturna Island and at Swiftsure Bank.
  • Area-based closures in the three key foraging areas for recreational and commercial salmon fisheries. These closures will come into effect in August, after the previously announced Chinook restrictions are lifted.
  • Inshore traffic asked to transit further from shore in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
  • The government has committed to releasing one million juvenile Chinook salmon annually.
  • Enhanced regulatory control of key persistent organic pollutants and toxic flame retardants.

Full details about the announcement can be found here and a map showing the measures at SRKW Map

As the SRKW are expected to arrive back in BC waters in the next few weeks, these measures will quickly come into effect. The government is now working to develop communication materials that we can help to disseminate to boaters and recreational fishers. We will distribute additional details as soon as we have them.

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