Dear Safe Shippers,
As you know, our resident orcas haven’t been doing well. Fortunately, the recent news of two new births and possibly some more calves on the way, is welcome news for all – the orcas could use all the help they can get.
Let’s help them!
Since the threats to the Southern Residents (lack of food, polluted waters, and vessel/boat disturbance) are all pretty much human-caused, we humans can and should take responsibility – and take action where we can.
Here is one opportunity to help.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) NEEDS TO HEAR FROM YOU on their draft regulations for the Commercial Whale Watch Licensing Program.
• The WDFW is required to use best available science to adopt rules that reduce the daily and cumulative impacts on Southern Resident orca whales, and consider the economic viability of license holders.
• These regulations only restrict commercial whale-watching on the critically endangered Southern Residents, not any other orca or whale species or marine wildlife.
• Because there is so much to see in the Salish Sea, a state-commissioned study* determined: “Overall, rule elements that specifically and solely limit the viewing of SRKW are not expected to pose a viability concern to the [commercial whale-watching] industry.”
PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS BY NOVEMBER 13 to support strong, science-based rules for commercial whale-watching that reduce vessel noise and disturbance and help the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas find scarce food, rest, socialize, and raise healthy calves.
Comment online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/cwwrules
INFO FOR MAKING COMMENTS
• Details on the draft ruling from WDFW: wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/orca/rule-making
• Comments from Friends of the San Juans: https://sanjuans.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Friends_of_the_San_Juans_comments_CWWLP_draft_rule_10-30-2020.pdf
MORE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION
1. In addition to submitting comments, you can register to attend and/or give comment at the December 4-5, 2020 online public hearing on the Commercial Whale Watch Licensing Program regulations. Learn more at the WDFW Commission website: https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings
2. Learn more about this issue by watching the documentary film, Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca and attending the online panel discussion on Wednesday, November 4, 1:30 – 2:30 pm PST. Register and receive a preview link to view the 26-minute documentary:
3. If you love boating (or love a boater), take the “Give Them Space” pledge, asking boaters to voluntarily stay one-half nautical mile away from the Southern Residents in the Salish Sea. It’s for everyone who wants to give the orcas more space: https://www.givethemspace.org/
4. Sign the petition, “Support Stricter Whale-Watching Regulations for Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales”: https://www.change.org/savethesouthernresidentorcas
Thank you, Safe Shippers, for wanting to help our critically endangered Southern Resident orcas – by learning more, taking action, and speaking up!
RCW 77.65.620, “Commercial whale watching license — Adoption of rules — Analysis and report to the governor and the legislature — Definitions”
The Seattle Times, “New rules would greatly reduce whale watching around endangered southern resident orcas”
Washington State Academy of Sciences, “Summary of Key Research Findings about Underwater Noise and Vessel Disturbance”
The Whale Museum, “Issues Affecting the Orcas”
*“Final Analysis of the Economic Viability of Commercial Whale Watching License Holders”