Canada Increases Protections for Pacific Northwest Orcas

A group of transient Orcas. (Rennett Stowe)

Canada has approved measures designed to protect endangered orcas in the Pacific Northwest, with some policies going further than laws recently enacted by Washington state.

The Seattle Times reports Canadian agencies last Friday announced the policies aimed at improving access to food for orcas, including reducing chinook salmon fishing and vessel disturbances on the animals.

Pair of Orca Whales Breaching in Puget Sound on the Olympic National Forest in Washington State (U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region)

Canada also will create sanctuaries for orcas in the Salish Sea, closing coastal waterways to most vessel traffic from June through October.

Vessels in Canadian waters will be required to stay 437 yards away from orcas.

Vessels in Washington state waters must keep 300 yards away from orcas.

The measure was among several bills that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed last week.


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