Declining Resident Orca Whales and Chinook salmon populations

While most all other Orca or Killer Whale populations are growing in size, and in certain cases, setting new population records, the southern and northern residential Orca populations along Canada’s west coast have not fared as well. At the same time, the Chinook salmon these two resident whale populations depend on almost exclusively, are themselves in decline. Scientists and conservationists alike agree that climate change related issues such as drought, warming oceans, acidification, extreme storms and shifts in marine biomass, in addition to pressures from commercial and aquiculture practices, as well as loss of spawning habitat due to dams, forestry practices and human development, are all key contributors to the decline of Chinook salmon populations. To address both declines in resident orca and Chinook salmon populations, the Suzuki Foundation is proposing a ban on recreational boaters, whale watching and recreational fishing. The Foundation believes these proposed measures will ensure southern and northern resident Orcas have unfettered and exclusive access to remaining Chinook salmon populations, and will re-build Chinook stocks.

Listen to hear from a key Suzuki Foundation scientist about the proposed measures and their rationale this week on Blue fish Radio.