SAVE OUR SALISH SEA SOUTHERN RESIDENT ORCAS
Who are the Southern Residents?
There are only 73 remaining Southern Resident orcas in the Salish Sea.
Southern resident killer whales (SRKW) are the smallest of four resident communities within the Northeast Pacific Ocean. They are found in the waters around Washington and British Columbia.
SRKW are listed as Schedule 1 in Canada’s Species at Risk Act and listed in the USA’s Endangered Species Act.
They differ from “transient” orcas because of their unique diet of approximately 80% Chinook salmon.
What is happening?
The SRKW face a world that’s getting big too fast - and they are struggling to adjust.
They have no food.
Their primary prey, Chinook salmon, are disappearing from their hunting grounds. Each whale needs to eat half a million salmon per year. This is primarily due to Chinook habitat loss and degradation due to the development of spawning waters or barriers that prevent salmon from returning to spawning grounds.
The waters of the Salish Sea are too busy.
Vessels produce low-frequency sounds that travel far through the ocean. Engine noise disrupts SRKW communication and physical collisions, or “boat strikes” can lead to the death of whales.
Marine contaminants threaten the quality of their prey and waters.
Large animals primarily pick up contaminants through the food that they eat. Persistent organic pollutants found in fish build up within the body of an orca, which can cause a weakened immune system, cancer, endocrine disruption, and death.
What can we do?
Start coffee & letter writing mornings. Letter writing campaigns can be an incredibly effective tool to let politicians know what actions they must take. Every Saturday, I sit down with a cup of coffee and some music, and bust out the pen and paper to write for causes I care about.
Here are some letters you can send to help the orcas. You do not need to be a resident of the state or province the politican is located in to write a letter!
Governor Jay Inslee
416 14 Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98504
US Army Corps of Engineers
Army Corps HQ
Attention: General Semonite
441 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000
Stop eating salmon. The SRKW need all the salmon they can get. Say no to salmon, especially farmed, and your planet and the orcas will thank you.
Provide public comment when requested by government. Issues up for public comment change frequently, but the best agencies to keep an eye on are NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA) and DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada). Up-to-date calls to action can also be found by following @pnwprotectors on Instagram.