Save Southern Resident Orcas From Extinction!

The Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca), whose home is in the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, are facing extinction. They are starving due to a shortage of salmon and they need a protection zone in their critical habitat so they can forage for the food that is available.

A Whale Protection Zone will protect them from interfering noise and boating activity that impedes their ability to search for, and find, food. Taking down dams will help restore the salmon; but it will take too long. Please sign this petition to National Marine Fisheries Service in support of a Whale Protection Zone in the critical orca habitat off the west side of San Juan Island in Washington State.

Dear National Marine Fisheries Service:

The Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca), whose home is in the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest, are facing extinction in the very near future. They are starving and need a protection zone. Over 50 research papers on the question have proven that when the Chinook salmon count is low, the presence of motorized boats increases both the orcas’ stress and their food requirements. At the same time, motorized boats also deafen their sonar abilities which reduces their ability to hunt and capture salmon. All these factors accelerate starvation. The situation is critical. Moves are underway to remove dams in the northwest, which will help salmon return to strength in numbers. This would help the orca whales—but it will take time.

What could help them immediately is a protection zone in their primary foraging waters off the west side of San Juan Island, Washington State.

NMFS should establish a contiguous Whale Protection Zone along the western and southern coasts of San Juan Island, ¾ of a mile from the shore (with an additional ¼ mile wide buffer area), from Mitchell point in the north, to Cattle Point in the south about 10-12 square miles. This is 0.5% of the SRKW's currently designated critical habitat and is in the center of their critical habitat core area, which is especially important to their recovery. It would include a permit system for whale watching and more resources for management, enforcement and education.

National Marine Fisheries Service has already designated the Southern Resident Killer Whales as an endangered "Species in the Spotlight" facing extinction. Please create a Whale Protection Zone that would reduce the noise and disturbance orca whales experience and give them greatest possible chance of locating life-saving food resources help.

Thank you.

Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance

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