Canada’s proposed Marine Mammals Regulations fail to protect endangered orcas and other cetaceans. While the legislation recognizes the need to protect the 800 endangered St. Lawrence River belugas by increasing the distance boats are allowed to approach, it maintains the inadequate distance of just 100 meters currently allowed between vessels and orcas on the West Coast.
The U.S. government has improved its orca protection policies by prohibiting boats from approaching closer than 400 meters along an orca’s direction of travel, or closer than 200 meters from any angle. Lifeforce fought for these increased distances, along with on-the-water government enforcement.
The threatened Southern Resident Killer Whale population consists of approximately 80 orcas. They are a trans-boundary species who travel between the waters of both Canada and the U.S. The laws must be consistent in both countries.
The three major risks to the survival of orcas are boat traffic, lack of food, and pollution. Boat traffic interrupts foraging and disrupts orcas’ lifestyles. It can also cause severe to fatal injuries.
Lifeforce has started a petition to urge the Government of Canada to increase the allowed boat distance from a meager 100 meters to the 200 meter and 400 meter distances permitted in the United States. Government enforcement of greater boat distances, limits of 30 minutes for viewing, and protection of orca habitats is crucial for the species’ survival.
Endangered species such as orcas need equal legal protection in both countries!
Please read and sign the Lifeforce Ocean Friends’ petition “Equal Laws to Protect West Coast Endangered Orcas!”
Featured image credit Ross G. Strachan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0