Posted on January 7, 2013 by Al B.
From OrcaNetwork: Sad news from Brad Hanson of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center: A newborn male orca calf was found washed up this morning on a beach at Dungeness Spit. The neonate was 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) long, and was found only a day or two after death. The body was taken to Seattle for a necropsy to take place tomorrow, but we won’t know if this is a resident or transient orca for a couple of weeks until DNA analysis can be completed. Both residents and transients have been in the general area in the past few days, and there are no recent sightings near Dungeness Spit to help determine the type. If anyone has any photos of the orcas seen in Puget Sound yesterday (Sunday), please send them to Orca Network to possibly identify those whales, and hopefully help identify this newborn orca.
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Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: dungeness spit, orca | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 13, 2012 by Al B.
The cuts to environmental organizations continue as the conservative governement that has taken control of all aspects of the Federal government of Canada continue to their attack on anything that smacks of environmental protection or slowing business interests in exploitation.This affects us as it affects Canada’s efforts to protect the Orcas that pass between us and them on a regular basis.
A non-profit group that keeps an eye on boaters and whale-watchers around Victoria and Alert Bay has been beached after being denied funding by Environment Canada The Straitwatch program, run by the Cetus Research and Conservation Society, has two Zodiac boats and does on-the-water education and monitoring to reduce disturbances to the endangered southern resident and threatened northern resident killer whales.
Filed under: Around the Sound, Canada, Government | Tagged: orca | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 7, 2012 by Al B.
Last year, regressive regulations were foisted on the whale watch community by rich shore owning people in the San Juans who courted the politicians in Washington D.C. with bogus ‘facts’ on whale watching boats stressing out the whales (you can read the research online that NOAA used to put a farther distance from the whales, and it clearly showed there was no evidence of whale watch boats affecting the whales, it was conjecture). Now research is showing that it’s the food, and perhaps, only additional conjecture, that when food is scarce, the boats, stress the whales out. Think that the Feds will reverse their decision? Not likely. It would have been much more useful to have had the Feds actually put in some bodies to enforce the existing regs rather than simply put more laws on the books that no one except legitimate businesses follow. But follow the money. Would be interesting to see how much those same shoreowners who shouted the loudest contributed to some of the current political campaigns.
Not having enough Chinook salmon to eat stresses out southern resident killer whales in the Pacific Northwest more than having boatloads of whale watchers nearby, according to hormone levels of whales summering in the Salish Sea. In lean times, however, the stress level normally associated with boats becomes more pronounced, further underscoring the importance of having enough prey, according to Katherine Ayres, an environmental and pet-behavior consultant who led the research while a University of Washington doctoral student in biology. Ayres is lead author of a paper appearing online June 6, in the journal PLoS ONE.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: orca, whales | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 22, 2012 by Al B.
Canada’s only marine mammal toxicologist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Vancouver Island is losing his job as the federal government cuts almost all employees who monitor ocean pollution across Canada. Peter Ross, an expert on killer whales and other marine mammals, was the lead author of a report 10 years ago that demonstrated Canada’s killer whales are the most contaminated marine mammals on the planet. He has more than a 100 published reports.
Canadian Killer Whale Expert Laid Off from Budget Cuts
Filed under: Canada, Government | Tagged: killer whale, orca | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 7, 2012 by Al B.
Fishermen who catch chinook salmon in the Salish Sea probably are not depriving killer whales of a meal — at least not to the extent that some people believed. That’s the preliminary conclusion of an independent panel of seven U.S. and Canadian scientists. The group was convened to figure out whether the endangered Southern Resident orca population would do better if salmon fishing were reduced or eliminated. Christopher Dunagan reports.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: chinook, orca, Salmon | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2011 by Al B.
NOAA today announced new regulations to protect killer whales in inland waters of Washington State from the effects of various vessel activities. The new regulations have two parts:
1. vessels must not approach any killer whale within 200 yards (up from 100 yards)
2. vessels must stay out of the path of oncoming whales out to 400 yards.
The new regulations go into effect 30 days after the Federal Register notice publishes. We’re working with our partners to educate boaters about the new regulations on and off the water.
It is unclear how this will work. Will people who have individual whales approach them be fined? If you start 200 yards away and the whales come closer, is it appropriate to run and flee to stay 200 yards off (which is impossible) or do you need to shut down your engine (currently it is to disengage your transmission)? And what if it is unsafe to do so at the time, such as when running through a narrow passage with the tide? (think Cattle Pass for example). Can a person even see a whale at 400 yards in poor conditions? etc.
What this sounds like to me is that we are hearing the moneyed interests on the San Juan’s who own modern castles along these shores who have been fighting having the whale watch boats in front of their homes for many years. A cynical person could think that they managed to pay off the right people to get the job done. I say this having had read the testimony last year as the two sides presented testimony to NOAA, and it was clear how unclear the distance issue actually was. There is no clear science that was presented on this issue, just supposition. In fact, the science that was presented was clear that there was no known issues that they could actually prove that boats inside these boundaries were having any effect at all. You could just as easily argue that because whale numbers are rising, that the boats are having a beneficial effect. And so it goes. Well, we’ll just have to see what kind of enforcement that NOAA funds for this. The only good news is that the enforcement has been incredibly missing to date, and is unlikely to find any funding in the current budget crisis.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: orca | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 7, 2011 by Al B.
A great opinion piece by Billy Frank Jr. the chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. He makes some excellent points. Read the whole piece, it’s pretty short.
Tribes and orcas have a lot in common. Together, we have always depended on the salmon for food.
The last 100 years have been hard on the tribes, the orcas and the salmon. Habitat loss and damage has pushed some salmon populations to the edge of extinction, threatening the orcas, tribal cultures and our treaty rights.
But instead of looking at the main causes for a weak local population of orcas, the federal government is asking us yet again to reconsider how we fish. We just spent several years working with our salmon co-managers to develop a five-year plan to manage our Puget Sound chinook fisheries in light of the recovery needs for fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Now, a half-step away from final approval, the federal government is asking us to go back to the drawing board and quickly produce a new two-year harvest plan that addresses how our fisheries might affect orca populations.
The rest of the story is at
Filed under: Around the Sound, First Nations | Tagged: fishing, orca, Salmon, tribes | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 7, 2011 by Al B.
2/3/11 Vancouver Sun
Canada, U.S. may restrict chinook salmon harvest to benefit killer whales
By LARRY PYNN, Vancouver Sun
Fishermen in Canada and the U.S. may have to give up part of their lucrative chinook salmon catch to help the recovery of endangered resident killer whales.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a news release Wednesday it plans to hold a science workshop with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the spring to discuss potential catch restrictions.
The federal agency said that “killer whales depend to a substantial degree on large chinook salmon as a high-calorie food source” and that “killer whale productivity is affected by chinook abundance.”
As a result of the workshop, both countries will be “better able to determine whether and to what extent additional constraints on salmon fishing may be necessary,” it said.
Filed under: Around the Sound, Salmon | Tagged: canada, orca, Salmon | Leave a Comment »