In the race to protect Southern Resident killer whales, there is no time to delay.
At the beginning of May — less than one month from today — the Southern Residents will make their annual return to the Salish Sea, their primary home from May to October.
Meanwhile, Ecojustice and our partners are sprinting to ensure that, when the whales arrive, there will be protections in place to safeguard the orcas, the salmon upon which they rely, and their shared coastal environment.
We sent the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans a letter on April 5, asking them to recommend an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) to protect this iconic population of whales.
Only 76 Southern Residents remain.
Faced with declining stocks of Chinook salmon, their primary source of food, and acoustic and physical disturbance from vessels, which interferes with their ability to hunt and communicate, these whales are at serious risk of malnutrition and starvation.
But it is not too late.
Fortunately, an emergency order is specifically designed to allow the government to cut through red tape and immediately address these threats.
We first asked the ministers for an emergency order when we sent them a petition in January 2018. Since then we have repeatedly asked the ministers to use this provision — and we are not the only ones.
In the past couple of months, thousands of Ecojustice supporters have joined the call for an emergency order by sending more than 10,800 letters to the ministers. Thank you for standing with us — and the Southern Residents.
In response to our combined calls, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and Transport Canada requested to meet with us on March 21 to discuss the government’s plans to protect the Southern Resident killer whales.
Unfortunately, what we heard in that meeting did not go far enough.
That is why we wrote to the ministers, making one more appeal for emergency protections before May 1. We also made it clear that, if the ministers continue to delay, we are prepared to take further steps — including legal action.
Ultimately, we want to make sure that Southern Residents will have access to Chinook salmon and the conditions they need to hunt in the 2018 season and beyond. And you can help make this happen.
Follow the link below to send a tweet to the ministers and remind them that, in the race to protect Southern Resident killer whales, it’s now or never.
Not on Twitter? You can still speak up for the Southern Residents by sending the ministers a letter here.