Ottawa's recovery plan for endangered southern resident killer whales slammed

Environmental groups say Ottawa's recovery plan for endangered southern resident killer whales will do nothing to reduce the stressors that are causing reductions in their population.

The plan calls for intensive research on food supply, critical habitat and the effect of human activity such as noise from ships.

But Misty MacDuffee with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation says that will take time, and the Salish Sea’s 85 endangered orcas don't have much of that left.

MacDuffee says the whales are under stress from many quarters including increased disturbance and noise from ships:

"There's massive proposals to increase shipping through Point Roberts, Burrard Inlet, through Kinder Morgan through all these LNG proposals,all of which have their own implications beyond just killer whales. But looking at the cumulative effect of those proposals on killer whales, they cannot sustain that increase in traffic."

The foundation says between the May and September boating season resident killer whales are within 400m of a vessel most of the time during daylight hours.

They are calling for several immediate actions, including matching U.S.. regulations that limit boat numbers and proximity to orcas, along with enforcement.  And they want Ottawa to close the Chinook fishery, the orca's main food source, to allow recovery of the runs which will support orca birth rates and survival.

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